“The AfterMath of an Extreme Natural Event” – Colloquium by Prof. Linda Smolka, Thurs, April 6 at noon in Olin 268

Bucknell Mathematics Student Colloquium Series

Thursday, April 6 | Noon-12:50PM  | Olin 268

The AfterMath of an Extreme Natural Event
presented by Linda Smolka, Professor of Mathematics, Bucknell University

ABSTRACT: An astonishing thing happened on January 15, 2022. The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano located in the South Pacific Ocean erupted, becoming the largest volcanic eruption in the modern satellite era on a scale not observed since Krakatoa erupted in 1883. The eruption was so powerful that among the shock waves it generated, the largest traversed the globe multiple times over several days. We’ll focus on the mathematics to model and understand this shock wave and also recount other extraordinary phenomena in the eruption’s aftermath. Curious where calculus is used in the real-world? Come see.

Arrive early for free pizza!

“What did you do last summer” Student Panel, Thursday Oct. 27 in Olin 268 at noon

Thurs, October 27 | Noon-12:50PM | Olin 268
What did you do last summer?
  • Moderated by Kelly Karpovich (2 internships: Complete Actuarial Solutions Company and The Talent Studios)
    with panelists
  • Lizzi Bianchine (internship @ Johnson and Johnson)
  • Georgia Corbett (research @Bucknell w/ Professor Bickel)
  • Jack Joseph (internship @ Pepsi)
  • Michael Perez Palapa (REU)

ABSTRACT: There are many exciting summer opportunities for students in the mathematical sciences! These range from internships in financial companies to research experiences at other universities to leadership development programs. In this week’s colloquium, a panel of your peers will tell you their experiences. What did they enjoy about their experiences? When did they apply? There will also be ample time for questions and answers. These varied opportunities, as well as being terrific fun, are also immensely valuable as you begin to think about your careers after Bucknell.

Arrive early for free pizza! (BYO beverage)

The poster for the event which contains the text included in the blog post except in large font and Bucknell colors.

Physics & Math Student Colloquium: Andrew Lee ’99 (Sept. 29 at noon in Olin 268)

Andy Lee, Bucknell ’99, will speak on his path from a degree in Physics to a career in Finance and how his undergraduate training influences his current work, including: the analysis that he works on and how it relates to physics/math (the system and the methods like Monte Carlo simulations); and how he gets from the analytics to financial decisions (fairly high level).

Open to all students and faculty; pizza will be provided…please bring your own water.

“Using Maths to Save The World”, Colloquium by Prof. Helen Greatrex; Thurs. Sept 15 at noon in Olin 268

Bucknell Mathematics Student Colloquium Series

Thurs, Sept. 15 | Noon-12:50PM  | Olin 268

Using Maths to Save The World
presented by Helen Greatrex, Professor of Geography and Statistics, Penn State University

ABSTRACT: Droughts kill thousands of people each year, especially in countries like Somalia where there is conflict and very little water to start off with.  Humanitarian experts often have to decide which places need the most help and alongside working with local communities, they also have to know how much rain has fallen. But how do you map rainfall in places where it’s too dangerous to gather data from weather-stations? Or in the vast spaces where we don’t have any weather stations at all?  
We turn to satellites! In this colloquium, we will chat about how simple mathematics can turn “space-photos” into useful weather information, and what happens when different satellites disagree…
Arrive early for free pizza!

“LSH Schemes (and how to improve them)”, Bucknell Machine Learning Association (MLA) Talk by Prof. Keegan Kang Monday Sept. 5 at 5.45pm at in the Traditional Reading Room (BERT 213).

The Bucknell MLA will hold its first meeting on Monday 9/5 at at 5.45pm in the Traditional Reading Room (BERT 213), for members to get to know each other and share their passion for machine learning. Prof. Keegan Kang will give an introductory talk on LSH Schemes.

ABSTRACT: There are some challenges with traditional machine learning in a Big Data world. Locality Sensitive Hashing (LSH) schemes are able to mitigate some of these challenges. The idea of LSH schemes will be briefly introduced in this talk by looking at an example of them: sign random projections. This will be followed briefly by an illustration of how LSH schemes can be improved, before concluding with several fun research areas using these schemes.

Bagels, Coffee, and Data Science! (Thurs 9/8 10am-noon, MacDonald Commons 104)

Bagels, Coffee, & Data Science! (Event with Axtria)

Interested in a career in data science? Come network with Bucknell alumni who work for one of the biggest players in the industry and learn about all things data science!

Thursday, September 8th
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
MacDonald Commons 104
Feel free to come and go as you please

Bucknell Alumni:
Erin Ditmar ’18 (Chemical Engineering) Erin.Ditmar@axtria.com
Caroline Edelman ’18 (Applied Mathematics) Caroline.Edelman@axtria.com
Hannah Jarosinski ’21 (Mathematics) Hannah.Jaroskinski@axtria.com
Brendan Lowery ’22 (Business Analytics) Brendan.Lowery@axtria.com

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Colloquium by Prof. Pete Brooksbank Thursday Sept. 1 at noon in Olin 268

Mathematics Department Student Colloquium Series

Thursday September 1 at noon in Olin 268.

Pizza will be served before the talk!

You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat (or: How math & computation are changing professional game playing)
presented by Peter Brooksbank, Professor of Mathematics, Bucknell University

ABSTRACT: Those of a mathematical bent have always been drawn to games in which their natural predilections give them an edge over their opponents. Pioneers of computation, such as Alan Turing and John von Neumann, pondered whether machines could compete with, or even outperform humans in games such as Chess, Go, and Poker… even before the first computer was built! In the present day, where almost everyone has hand-held access to more powerful computers than Turing and von Neumann could have possibly imagined, their questions have largely been answered.

In this talk I will give a brief history of the interplay between mathematics, computation, and games. Along the way, some cool math tools will be provided to use in games of chance! I will talk about the state of the art in computer-assisted Chess, Go, and Poker, and sketch the mathematical ideas upon which these programs are founded. Mostly what I want to do in this talk is convince you that blending mathematical reasoning with tools from modern computing makes a powerful cocktail. From playing games with your friends to looking for a job, you’ll be sailing in a bigger boat!
Arrive early for free pizza!

“Horn Inequalities: Old and New”, by Professor Dan Timotin; 4/26 at 4:00pm

The Mathematics Department’s Distinguished Visiting Professor

Dan Timotin, Institute of Mathematics of the Romanian Academy

Tuesday, April 26th 4:00 P.M.
ROOM 372 in the Olin Science Building

Abstract: If A and B are self-adjoint matrices, what is the relation between the eigenvalues of A, those of B, and those of A+B? The talk will describe the unexpected ramifications in various areas of mathematics of this old problem. Some recent developments, mostly pertaining to operator theory, will also be presented.

Contraction-Based Approach to Tensor Isomorphism, an Honors Thesis Defense by Anh Kieu ’22 Wednesday 4/20 at 4:00pm


Contraction-based approach to tensor isomorphism

Presented by:

Anh Kieu ‘22

Thesis Advisor: Pete Brooksbank

2nd Reader: Ben Vollmayr-Lee
Wednesday, April 20, at 4:00 PM
OLIN 372

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Abstract: Tensors are natural generalizations of linear transformations to arbitrary “frames” of vector spaces. Just as how a linear transformation can be represented by a matrix, choosing a reference frame allows a tensor to be represented by a multiway array. A fundamental question is to decide when two multiway arrays represent the same tensor relative to different reference frames. This question is commonly known as the tensor isomorphism problem. In this Honors Thesis, we developed a new approach to testing (non)-isomorphism of tensors that uses detailed local information to detect differences in global tensor structure. The method assumes isomorphism invariant “labels” for lower valence tensors can be computed, and then compares two given tensors by computing their so-called “contraction labels.” We implemented this method in a computer algebra system called Magma and applied it to 4-qubit states in QIT as a proof of concept.

“Lies, Damn Lies, and…Olympic Judging Systems”, Colloquium by Professor John Emerson Thursday 4/21 at 12:00pm

Mathematics Department, Student Colloquium Series


PIZZA SERVED from 11:30 -11:55 in front of Hislop Family Auditorium


Lies, Damn Lies, and…Olympic Judging Systems

Presented by

John W. Emerson
Director of Graduate Studies
 Department of Statistics and Data Science – Yale University

Thursday, April 21, 2022

12:00 P.M.        HOLMES HALL – 116 Hislop Family Auditorium

Abstract: This talk considers aspects of Olympic judging systems in two different sports, diving and figure skating.  The former sport can boast of complete transparency, with the identities of the judges tied to scores available to the general public.  The latter sport, in contrast, has struggled to evolve since the judging scandal of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

BIO: John W. Emerson is the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Statistics and Data Science. His primary interests are in computational statistics and graphics, and his applied work ranges from topics in sports statistics to bioinformatics, environmental statistics, and Big Data challenges. He teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate courses from “Introductory Data Analysis” to “Statistical Case Studies.” He is the author of several R packages including bcp (for Bayesian change point analysis), bigmemory and sister packages (towards a scalable solution for statistical computing with massive data), and gpairs (for generalized pairs plots). He has served in various leadership roles in several sections of the American Statistical Association.  He misses international travel and loves to cook.