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Euclid Makes the Cut

by Margaret Symington

Year of Award: 2013

Award: Trevor Evans

Publication Information: Math Horizons, vol. 19, 2012, pp. 6-9

Summary: (Adapted from the MathFest 2013 Prizes and Awards Booklet) The author describes how Dr. Joshua Lane and she teamed up to make precise his improvement on a skin graft procedure. Dynamic geometry software and theorems from Euclid revealed the optimal way to cut a lens-shaped skin patch so as to improve the healing process.

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About the Author: (From the MathFest 2013 Prizes and Awards Booklet)

Margaret Symington studied mathematics (A.B.) and engineering (A.B. and M. Sc.) at Brown University and then taught high school for two years before earning a Ph.D. in symplectic geometry and topology from Stanford University. After a post doc at the University of Texas, a visiting position at the University of Illinois, and an assistant professor position at Georgia Tech, she moved to Mercer University where she has been on the faculty since 2005.

At Mercer, she joins faculty from all disciplines in teaching core general education courses that emphasize writing instruction - and have nothing to do with mathematics. Currently she is helping faculty develop their own variations of a core sophomore-level course in which students explore the topic of community from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

She is a "cut and paste" topologist who is interested in classical geometry and all aspects of geometric topology, including contact geometry and topological aspects of integrable systems. She enjoys any problem that involves visualization and has particular expertise in using toric geometry to understand symplectic four-manifolds.

Subject classification(s): Geometry and Topology | Plane Geometry
Publication Date: 
Monday, August 19, 2013