You are here

Undergraduate Mathematics Seminar

The Undergraduate Mathematics Seminar has talks on a variety of topics at a level accessible to undergraduate students. Our speakers will include our faculty, our graduate students, our undergraduate students, and some visitors. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come.
For more information contact Ross Chiquet.

Fall 2018

For the Fall 2018 semester we will meet every other Tuesday at 3:30 in 201 Maxim Doucet Hall.

  • 11 September 2018
    Cantor's Theorem and Infinite Cardinals
    Jon Hebert
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
    Abstract: The measure of a set's size, in the sense of how many elements it contains, is called its cardinality. The notion of cardinality for finite sets is an intuitive concept, and this concept can be extended to compare the cardinalities of infinite sets. It turns out that for cardinality, some "infinities" are larger than others. In this talk we'll compare the cardinalities of various infinite sets, and we’ll discover a way to generate sets of higher cardinality.
  • 25 September 2018
    Frogs and DEs and Chaos, Oh My!
    Ross Chiquet
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
  • 9 October 2018
    Science Day 2018 presentation preview
    Several undergraduate and graduate mathematics students will speak
  • 6 November 2018
    Polyhedra: from Plato to present day
    Robin Koytcheff, UL Lafayette
    Abstract: Polyhedra are generalizations of polygons to dimension 3 (and higher). The platonic solids, which generalize regular polygons, were known at least as far back as the 5th century BCE. Polyhedra also appear in the forthcoming local film Bending Lines: the Sculpture of Robert Wiggs on the late Lafayette-based sculptor. We will describe the five platonic solids and show that they are the only regular polyhedra. We will then discuss related concepts, such as the question of tiling space with polyhedra and the question of embedding graphs in the plane.
  • 20 November 2018
    Number-Theoretic Properties of the Golden Ratio
    Patrick Leleux, UL Lafayette
    Abstract: The golden ratio finds itself at the center of great mystification, often compromising its true uniqueness found in pure mathematics. It possesses several unique properties in several branches of mathematics, not the least of which being Number Theory. Designated for discussion will be the golden ratio as the extreme and mean ratio, the limit of several recursive sequences, it’s representation as a continued fraction and a continued radical, and a solution to an interesting equation.

Fall 2017

For the Fall 2017 semester we will meet at 4:00 on every other Monday in 201 Maxim Doucet Hall.

  • 11 September 2017
    From Observation, to Pattern, to Conjecture, to Proof: A Simple Theorem from Calclulus and Geometry
    Jon Hebert
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
    Abstract: In this talk we will explore a common observation made by calculus students and attempt to make a more general claim. We will do so by examining other cases, looking for a pattern, forming a conjecture from that pattern, and finally, proving our conjecture.
  • 25 September 2017
    A statistical analysis of Bangkok traffic accident data
    Kanokwan Channgam
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
  • 16 October 2017
    Descartes and Fermat: an unlikely collaboration
    Caleb MacDonald
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
    Abstract: Rene Descartes and Pierre Dr Fermat's mutual enmity is well known and was exacerbated by their near simultaneous publications of methods for finding tangents. We will work through a sample problem using Descartes circle method, Fermat's line method, and what has been termed 'Descartes line method', but which is really a clarification of Fermat's method. Time allowing we will gesture in the direction of a derivation of the power rule using this line method.

Spring 2017 -- archive

For the Spring 2017 semester we will meet at 4:00 on every other Wednesday in 201 Maxim Doucet Hall.

  • 8 February 2017
    Algebraic Geometry: What is it and how is it used?
    James Kimball
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
    Abstract: A central theme in Algebraic Geometry is the study of solutions of systems of polynomial equations in one or more variables. The solutions of these systems of equations form geometric objects called varieties. The corresponding algebraic objects are called ideals. In this talk, we will introduce these objects at the undergraduate level and provide many concrete and motivating examples. With these and algorithms for manipulating systems of polynomial equations, we can introduce a few fundamental results in the field of Algebraic Geometry.  Time permitting, we will introduce a few of the more interesting applications, such as robotics and error-correcting codes.
  • 22 February 2017
    On p-adic numbers
    Leonel Robert
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette

Fall 2016 -- archive

  • 7 September 2016
    How Much Math Does a Poker Player Need to Know?
    George Turcu
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
  • 21 September 2016
    e is transcendental
    Leonel Robert
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
    Abstract: First I will discuss what it means to say that e is transcendental. Then I will go through the proof.
  • 5 October 2016
    Irrational Numbers: From Ancient Greece to 20th Century France
    Henry Heatherly
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
  • 19 October 2016
    We will not meet this week. We will meet next week instead!
  • 26 October 2016
    Science Day 2016 presentations
    Several students will give previews their Science Day presentations
  • 16 November 2016
    A Quick Introduction to Goedel's Theorem
    Arturo Magidin
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
    Abstract: Goedel's Theorem states that in certain types of axiomatic systems, we can either prove both a proposition and its negation, or else there are propositions that can neither be proven nor disproven. It was a major accomplishment, and Goedel is often called the greatest logician since Aristotle.
    We will give a quick overview of the history that led to Goedel's Theorem, as well as making precise exactly what it says (and what it does not say); we will also explain how the proof works. If time permits, we will go into some of the details of the proof.
  • 30 November 2016
    The Cantor Set in the Context of Totally Disconnected Spaces
    Cody Nash
    Mathematics Department, UL Lafayette
    Abstract: The Cantor Set is a subset of the set of real numbers that has many very interesting properties. Georg Cantor was the first to introduce the Cantor Set. The Cantor Set was used extensively by Cantor and his colleagues when they were creating new, fundamental ideas in the field of point-set topology. One of these interesting topological properties of the Cantor Set is that it is a totally disconnected space. In this talk we will review some introductory material to aid in understanding what a totally disconnected space is. This introductory material will include equivalence relations, some ideas about what a topology on a set is, and some terminology used in the field of topology. After the introductory material, we will discuss what it means to be a totally disconnected space. This will lead to two supplementary theorems which will aid us in proving that the Cantor Set is a totally disconnected space.