Faculty travels and talks

Here’s a few recent conferences attended by Math faculty.

AMS logoFall Western Sectional Meeting, Tucson, Arizona. October 27-28, 2012
Event: Special Functions, Combinatorics, and Analysis, III.  Approximate # of attendees: 275 speakers, (23 in Special Functions, Combinatorics, and Analysis).   Mark Dunster was the only SDSU Math/Stat faculty and students in attendance at the  session.  Title: Electromagnetic wave scattering from two infinite dielectric cylinders.  Abstract: We consider wave scattering from 2 parallel infinite dielectric cylinders, illuminated by an incident electric field with arbitrary distribution and polarization. The scattered electric and magnetic fields from both cylinders can be expressed as infinite series involving Hankel functions, and whose coefficients satisfy a coupled system (which involve Bessel and Hankel functions). We show how this system can be simply decoupled, and this in turn solved by successive approximations. We finally rigorously prove, under explicit conditions on the physical parameters of the problem, convergence of the successive approximation scheme. This is achieved by utilizing certain bounds on Bessel functions, which are derived from asymptotic and integral representations.

Joanne Lobato gave a talk at the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association. This conference, held in San Francisco, April 27 through May 1, 2013, hosted more than 15,500 educational researchers.   Joanne gave an overview of the state of research on the transfer of learning in the session titled, “The Transfer Showcase: Exciting Contemporary Advances About and Educationally Central Phenomenon.” The talk also served as a tribute to Dr. Randi Engle’s research in this area.  Sadly, Professor Engle lost her battle with pancreatic cancer six months to this session that she organized.

At the same Annual Conference, Chris Rasmussen and Jessica Ellis presented their paper entitled, “Who are the students that switch out of calculus and why?”  Jessica Ellis is in her third year of the joint SDSU-UCSD Mathematics and Science Education Doctoral Program. In this paper, Rasmussen and Ellis analyzed data from a large, national survey to examine the characteristics of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) intending students who begin their post secondary studies with Calculus I and either persist or switch out of the Calculus sequence, and hence either remain or leave the STEM pipeline.  This year U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan addressed attendees at the Annual Meeting. He spoke to an overflow crowd of more than 1,300—and many others via live streaming—about the challenges inherent in designing and implementing effective standardized testing and other learning assessments. More highlights of the meeting can be found at http://www.aera.net/Newsroom/AERAiHighlightsiEnewsUpdate/AERAHighlightsMay2013/tabid/14874/Default.aspx


Sam Shen organized a Special Session at the 2013 AMS Annual Meeting in San Diego, January 9-12, 2013.  The session title was “Environmental Mathematics: Evaluate the Past Climate Changes and Model the Future Climate Variations.”  Sam also made a presentation entitled “Trends, hottest and coldest years, climate regimes, decadal variations, and uncertainties of the United States temperature and precipitation since 1895.”  This year’s AMS JMM had an emphasis on mathematics roles in climate science.   The conference had over 20 sessions on climate mathematics and statistics.  The United States program of Mathematics for Planet Earth (MPE) was launched at the meeting on January 9.  Sam is an active member of MPE.


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