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Other Mathematical Sessions

MAA Prize Session

Thursday, August 7, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Hilton Portland, Grand Ballroom I & II

Barbara FairesWestminster College, MAA Secretary

Robert DevaneyBoston University, MAA President

MAA Section Officers Meeting

Thursday, August 7, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Hilton Portland, Grand Ballroom I

This session is open to all section officers and their guests.  The session consists of a short workshop on section events relating to the MAA Centennial celebration, together with brief reports from the Association headquarters.

Rick GillmanValparaiso University, Chair of the MAA Committee on Sections


Thursday, August 7, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., Hilton Portland, Plaza Level, Pavilion East

They're called Fermi problems...

  • How many stop signs are in New York City?

  • How many babies were born in 1900?

  • How many Social Security Numbers are prime?

If you're looking for a mindbending mixture of math and trivia, look no further! Jane Street Capital presents The Estimathon contest: attempt 13 Fermi problems in 30 minutes, ranging from totally trivial to positively Putnamesque. Work in teams (of up to 5 people per team) to come up with the best set of confidence intervals. The top teams will receive prizes!

Contest rules can be found here. If you are interested in participating, sign up here. If you have further questions, feel free to contact the organizers at

Andy Niedermaier, Jane Street Capital

Alder Award Session

Friday, August 8, 2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m., Hilton Portland, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom I

Robert DevaneyBoston University, MAA President

The Joy of Discovery

2:00 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.

Arguably, one of the highlights of mathematics research is the joy of finally completing the proof of a new result after a long period of work. On the other hand, this feeling of happiness in mathematics is foreign to many students who view mathematics as rigid computation or who give up on a problem if it cannot be solved within 5 minutes. In this talk, I will discuss my endeavors to share the joy of discovery with undergraduates at a variety of levels, including in calculus classes, an experimental mathematics course, and various undergraduate research programs.

Lara PudwellValparaiso University

There's Treasure Everywhere: When Student Work Matters

2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

No one wants to believe that the work they do is unappreciated or unnoticed. All of want our efforts to matter -- and this includes our students. Traditional grading of homework and tests helps their work matter (since it determines their grade), but perhaps we can help students become more invested in their coursework by making their work important to other people as well. In this talk, we describe some efforts by the author and others to guide students to invest deeply in their work, by helping them build real connections between the classroom and the larger world.

Dominic KlyveCentral Washington University

Math Circles Demonstration 

Saturday, August 9, 9:00 a.m. - 9:55 a.m., Hilton Portland, Plaza Level, Pavilion East

A math circle is an enrichment experience that brings mathematics professionals in direct contact with pre-college students and/or their teachers. Circles foster passion and excitement for deep mathematics. This demonstration session offers the opportunity for conference attendees to observe and then discuss a math circle experience designed for local students. While students are engaged in a mathematical investigation, mathematicians will have a discussion focused on appreciating and better understanding the organic and creative process of learning that circles offer, and on the logistics and dynamics of running an effective circle.

Philip Yasskin, Texas A&M University
Paul Zeitz, University of San Francisco
Japheth Wood, New York Math Circle
Craig Daniels, PDX (Portland) Math Circle


Math Wrangle

Saturday, August 9, 10:30 a.m. – 11:25 a.m., Hilton Portland, Plaza Level, Pavilion East

Math Wrangle will pit teams of students against each other, the clock, and a slate of great math problems. The format of a Math Wrangle is designed to engage students in mathematical problem solving, promote effective teamwork, provide a venue for oral presentations, and develop critical listening skills. A Math Wrangle incorporates elements of team sports and debate, with a dose of strategy tossed in for good measure. The intention of the Math Wrangle demonstration at MathFest is to show how teachers, schools, circles, and clubs can get students started in this exciting combination of mathematical problem solving with careful argumentation via public speaking, strategy and rebuttal.

Steve Dunbar, American Math Competitions
Tatiana Shubin, San Jose State University
Ed Keppelmann, University of Nevada, Reno
Craig Daniels, PDX (Portland) Math Circle

American Mathematics Competitions

MAA Business Meeting 

Saturday, August 9, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Hilton Portland, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom I & II

Barbara Faires, Westminster College, MAA Secretary

Robert Devaney, Boston University, MAA President

Great Talks for a General Audience: Coached Presentations by Graduate Students

Saturday, August 9, 1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Hilton Portland, Plaza Level, Broadway I & II

Presenters in this session must be graduate students. While many graduate students will be asked to give a lecture to a general audience, which includes undergraduates and non-mathematicians as part of a job interview, most students do not have experience talking to a non-research audience. This session gives graduate students the opportunity to give a 20-minute talk aimed at an undergraduate audience which has been exposed to calculus and some linear algebra. Both the talks and abstracts should be designed to excite a wide range of undergraduates about mathematics. All participants in this session will receive private feedback on their presentations from an established faculty member and an undergraduate student. Time permitting, a discussion of effective techniques for delivering great general-audience talks will occur at the end of the session.  Contact Jim Freeman ( or Rachel Schwell ( for help on writing an abstract and preparing a talk for a general audience.  Graduate student participants in this session should also attend the graduate student workshop (What’s the Story?) on mathematical presentations.  Abstracts must be submitted by June 6, 2014.

Jim Freeman, Cornell College
Rachel Schwell, Central Connecticut State University

Committee on Graduate Students