Muskingum Hosts The Mathematics Association of America (MAA) Fall 2006 Meeting of the Ohio Section

The Fall Meeting of the Ohio Section of the MAA was held at Muskingum College on October 27-28, 2006. Most of the events were held at the Boyd Science Center. Kudos go to Rich Daquila and his colleagues--everything progressed smoothly and without any singularities. The featured speakers--David Singer of Case-Western Reserve University, Curtis Bennett of Loyola Marymount University, and Bernd Sturmfels of University of California, Berkeley, presented marvelous talks.

In addition, the meeting included a panel discussion on the future of the entire college-level mathematics curriculum, publishers' exhibits, and a Friday evening banquet. Participants also submitted talks for the the contributed paper sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

David Singer, the 2005 winner of the Section's award for distinguished teaching, gave the opening talk, titled, "Focusing on the Critical Points of Polynomials."
Panel members were Harold Putt (Ohio Northern), Carol Phillips-Bey (Cleveland State), Marsha Guntharp (Capital) and Dick Little (Baldwin-Wallace).

To view more photos of the Fall 2006 MAA Meeting, please go to http://www.jcu.edu/math/ohiofocus/minifocusfall2006.pdf.


Python Programming Course Offered

The Department of Math and Computer Science offered a course on Python programming, CPSC 220, for spring semester, 2007. This course introduced Python programming from the ground up, including helping students identify Python libraries that would be useful in future research for their chosen fields. Python is a language that is becoming increasingly popular for scientific research, due in part to being easy to learn and because of the ease of making changes to programs (at times while the program is running!). Python libraries for research include fields such as astronomy, biology, geosciences, molecular modeling, and others. A list of libraries can be found at http://www.scipy.org/Topical_Software.


Bioinformatics Course Offered for Spring Semester 2007

Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing field that integrates molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, statistics, and computer science. Muskingum offers CPSC 490, Advanced Topics: Bioinformatics, a team-taught course.

The early part of the course is spent surveying the field of Bioinformatics and providing some basic material in molecular biology and computer science for people who may not have those topics in their previous coursework. Goals of the course are to:
  • Provide experience accessing databases of informtion about nucleic acid and proteins.
  • Provide demonstrations of DNA synthesis and analysis techniques.
  • Discuss the types of information encoed and moved by various types of DNA and RNA.
  • Use graphical software to display various kinds of molecules used in molecular biology.
  • Discuss the use of micro-arrays in laboratory testing.
  • Examine biological classification from a DNA perspective.
  • Explore bioinformatics and its role in helping research and the treatment of various diseases.


ACM Programming Competition

A team consisting of Beb Dietz, David Datkuliak, and Manu Mukerji represented Muskingum College at the ACM East-Central regional programming contest on November 10, 2007. The team drove to Ashland, Ohio, and participated with over 100 teams at three other sites in the contest. Competition was fierce, and the team received an honorable mention for their efforts.


Dr. Ralph Hollingsworth Lectures on the Convergence of Technologies

On Thursday, November 2, 2007, Dr. Ralph Hollingsworth lectured on the intersection of three technologies and how this could change careers, lives, and the world.

Science and mathematics students can at times be overwhelmed by the scope of scientific and mathematical knowledge, technology and skills that need to be assimilated. Compounding the problem is the growth in technologies that impact science, jobs, and life in general.

There is an increasing danger of individuals, organizations, and cultures being "blindsided"--being unaware of a technology that could profoundly change how we work and live. Advances in technology are often two-edged swords, offering both incredible creative opportunities along with great potential for destruction. An example is the enormous potential, both positive and negative, of the convergence of genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics that was discussed by Dr. Hollingsworth.

Dr. Hollingsworth reminded students to "keep your head up--keeping an eye on the news, reading magazines and books, accessing information online, attending lectures, and otherwise keeping aware of how science and technology are evolving. Learning about science and mathematics does not end at the door to the classroom or lab, and does not stop once you leave Muskingum!"


Dr. Russell Smucker Retires

The College gives special farewell to Dr. Russell Smucker, Associate Professor of Mathematics, who will be retiring from Muskingum at the end of spring semester, 2007.

Dr. Russell Smucker has been a dedicated Muskingum College MACS faculty member since 1982. Dr. Smucker earned his B.A. from Goshen College, his M.A. for Kent State University, and his Ph.D. from Saint Louis University. Muskingum is grateful to Dr. Smucker for his years of service and multiple contributions to the campus community, and he will be missed.