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Clarke to Host Mathematics Conference

October 21, 2014

Clarke University will host the Iowa section of the Mathematical Association of America (MMA) Regional Conference on Oct. 24-25. Amanda Matson, Clarke assistant professor of mathematics, is currently serving as the vice-chair elect for the Iowa section of the MMA.  Approximately 70 people from around the state are expected to attend, along with guests from out of state. In addition to three plenary lectures, Friday afternoon and Saturday will feature concurrent sessions with 32 math talks where topics range from calculus to the mathematics in art and music. Friday evening there will be a math game night for the general public. Saturday there will be a section business meeting prior to lunch. This year’s plenary lecturers are Dr. Ruth Charney, Dr. Robert Devaney and Dr. T.J. Hitchman. Charney, a national George Pólya Lecturer, will present An Excursion into the Strange World of Singular Geometry on Saturday morning. Devaney, president of the MAA, will present The Fractal Geometry of the Mandelbrot Set on Friday evening. Hitchman, recipient of the Iowa MAA Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics Award, will present Building Toward Student Ownership on Saturday afternoon.  Charney is a professor of Mathematics at Brandeis University. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Brandeis and her Ph.D. from Princeton, she held positions at the University of California at Berkeley, Yale and Ohio State University before returning to Brandeis in 2003. Charney is president-elect of the Association for Women in Mathematics and serves as a trustee for the American Mathematical Society. She was a plenary speaker at the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics in 2007 and a Mathematical Association of America distinguished lecturer in 2008. Charney claims she was never sure whether she was a topologist or an algebraist, and is now happily immersed in geometric group theory, a combination of the two. Devaney is a professor of Mathematics at Boston University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and since has remained active in the mathematical community. He has authored more than 100 research papers and a dozen pedagogical papers. In addition to being president of the MAA, Devaney is director of the National Science Foundation’s Dynamical Systems and Technology project. He has been involved with creating technology to help students explore fractals such as the Mandelbrot and Julia sets.  Hitchman is an associate professor of Mathematics at the University of Northern Iowa. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, worked at Rice University for three years as a VIGRE Lovett Instructor and at Williams College for one year before moving to Iowa. Hitchman is passionate about teaching and has been actively involved in the Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) community. He is a member of the MAA Committee on Undergraduate Student Activities and Chapters as well as program chair for the 2014 and 2015 Legacy of R.L. Moore/IBL national meetings.