SIAM Student Chapter Activities

November 10, 2006

SIAM provided funding for a variety of activities on the local level for 35 student chapters during the 2005-2006 academic year. Activities included seminars, lectures, field trips, competitions, and social events. Following are some examples.

Speakers address technical aspects of scientific topics and interesting applications of math

►Drexel University Chapter sponsored a presentation on Applications of Non-Commutative Harmonic Analysis by Jacek Turski of the University of Houston.

►Emory University Chapter sponsored 12 speakers including George Biros, University of Pennsylvania, Multigrid Schemes for Inverse and Control Problems for Systems Governed by Parabolic PDE's; Mathias Schacht, Humboldt Universitat zu Berlin, Ladders in Dense Graphs; and Philip Tiu, Oglethorpe University, The Illuminating Effects of Light Bulbs on Mathematics.

►Middle East Technical University Chapter presented lectures including Abstract Convexity with Applications to Global Optimization by Alexander M. Rubinov of University of Ballarat, Australia and Solution Methods in Robust Optimization by Oliver Stein of RTWH Aachen, Germany.

►University of Arizona Chapter hosted Mac Hyman of Los Alamos National Laboratory who made a presentation on The Role of Mathematical Sciences in Science-Based Simulations. This presentation was also attended by members of the Arizona State University Chapter.

►University of Delaware Chapter sponsored SIAM Visiting Lecturer David Keyes of Columbia University presenting How Many Computers Can Fit on the Head of a Pin?

►University of Illinois at Chicago Chapter hosted Roger Temam of Indiana University who presented Theoretical and Computational Problems for the Equations of the Ocean and the Atmosphere.

►University of South Carolina at Columbia Chapter hosted Tim Kelley of NCSU who presented Pseudo-Transient Continuation Method for Solving Nonlinear Equations.

►Washington University Chapter hosted T. C. Stevens of St. Louis University who presented Mathematical Means and Congressional Ways.

Invited speakers discuss the use of mathematics in industry

►Columbia University Chapter members listened as Yuliy Baryshnikov of Bell Labs talked about the differences in and similarities of the experiences of applied mathematicians employed in academia and industrial labs like Bell Labs, Shannon Labs, or IBM Watson Research Center.

►University of Colorado at Boulder Chapter (undergraduate) sponsored Statistics, Economics, and Finance in one Profession presented by Rob Ridge and Ryan Cox from Mercer Human Resources in Denver. They addressed the reasons why the actuarial profession is one of the top-rated professions today; what work is involved in this profession; the importance of being aware of how current and future market conditions, demographic trends, and legislation affect companies; and more.

►University of Southern California Chapter hosted an Industry Representative Series featuring Muhammet Ali Can of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California speaking on Quantum Computation: An Introduction and Victor L. Piterbarg, a finance analyst at Bank of America Securities, speaking on Modeling Credit Derivatives: A Practitioner's View.

Activities address careers in mathematics

►Arizona State University Chapter listened as Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse of AT&T told chapter members how she overcame cultural barriers to work in corporate America as a mathematician.

►North Carolina State University Chapter held an alumni panel to provide current math graduate students with advice on job hunting and life in general after graduation. The panel included Rebecca Hillman, University of South Carolina Sumter faculty; Farrah Jackson, University of North Carolina Wilmington faculty; Rachel Levy, Duke University postdoc; Jack Perry, North Carolina Wesleyan College faculty; and Jill Reese, Sandia National Laboratories intern.

►Worcester Polytechnic Institute Chapter had several alumni now employed in industry return to WPI to make presentations: Joseph Simonis of Boeing, Insuring You End Where You Begin: Calculating Periodic Solutions; and Nafi Diallo of Bloomberg, Financial Mathematics.

Seminars allow students and faculty to share ideas and research

►Rice University Chapter held a discussion group for graduate students about one of the trickier aspects of research: collecting and organizing scholarly articles.

►Tufts University Chapter held luncheon seminars at which students presented their current research.

►University of Maryland Chapter held a graduation conference featuring an alumni panel discussion on computational science and presentations by both undergraduate and graduate students.

►University of Texas at Austin Chapter invited Mary Wheeler to talk to them about major problems in the field of computational science today and predictions for the field in the future.

Competitions recognize outstanding performance

►Auburn University Chapter held its Annual Student Paper Competition to select the student who would represent the chapter at the 2006 SIAM Annual Meeting in Boston. Aji Chadia Affane won the competition.

►Virginia Tech Chapter's student research seminar attracted participants from its math, computer science, engineering, aerospace, physics, and bioinformatics departments to the 13 presentations held throughout the year. Based on computer surveys, the chapter awarded $100 gift certificates for the best presentations to Patricia Mellodge for Modeling and Control of a Robotic Car and to Manjula Iyer for SHEPPACK: Multivariate Interpolation for Large Sets of Scattered Data using the Modified Shepard Algorithm.

Chapters organize field trips and collaborate on activities

►New Jersey Institute of Technology Chapter sponsored a field trip to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that included a guided tour of the lab and seminars given by laboratory faculty. See a photo at

►University of Tennessee and Clemson University Chapters traveled to Auburn, Alabama, to participate with the Auburn University Chapter in the 30th annual meeting of the SIAM Southeast Atlantic Section Meeting (held jointly with the Southeastern Section of MAA)at Auburn University.

►Colorado Chapters at Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Denver organized the second SIAM Front Range Applied Mathematics Student Conference in Denver. See a photo at

Other great ideas

►University of Delaware Chapter compiled a Handbook on Mathematical Formulae and sold it to raise funds for the chapter.

►Tufts University Chapter created a welcome brochure for the 2006 SIAM Annual Meeting in Boston, offering attendees recommendations for activities and dining in the area.

►SIAM Gators at the University of Florida created "SIAM I AM" t-shirts which raised awareness of the chapter both on campus and at the 2006 SIAM Annual Meeting in Boston.

►Various chapters hosted social activities including bowling, barbecue with bocce ball tournament, movie nights to watch Proof and Sneakers, and dinners.

►Chapters raised money to support their activities by selling t-shirts, past final exams, math handbooks, lecture notes, and snacks in the chapter lounge. Many chapter activities were also funded by their student government organizations and their departmental budgets.

For information on setting up a SIAM chapter at your institution, contact SIAM Membership Manager Susan Whitehouse or SIAM Vice President for Education Bill Briggs.

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