The department of mathematics hosted “MathFest 2018,” a two-day event that allowed students to discuss topics of interest in mathematics with faculty and peers from 10 universities and present their research.
The annual event, held on April 6 and 7 in Hawkins Hall this year, was the idea of Kenneth Roblee, a professor and chair of the department of mathematics who started it using a grant he received from the National Science Foundation.
“It’s good to go to other places for conferences, but I thought that we could have ours because there’s not one very close to here like ours,” Roblee said. “I was trying to give a forum for students to give talks on their projects and meet students from other colleges in math and learn ideas from them.”
Student presentation topics included technical works like “An introduction to planar graphs, Euler’s formula and Kuratowski’s Theorem” presented by Alexander Brassington, a senior physics major from Miami, while students from the University of North Alabama presented on the “The Math Behind March Madness,’’ explaining the use of math to increase the likelihood of someone’s college basketball tournament bracket finishing in a higher percentile and potentially filling out a perfect bracket.
“A lot of them are very confusing,” said Nam Dang, a freshman computer science major from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. “I love math, but it’s still math.
“It’s still complicated.”
Dang said he enjoyed two talks in particular: “Let’s Talk About TIME” by a visiting professor from Albany State University, and “Proposed Virtual Reality Instruction System for Math and Physics” by a group from Seminole State College.
Ryann Firestine, a sophomore math major from Dothan, presented the Vizing Theorem.
“Graph theory is such a new area in mathematics,” Firestine said. “It’s used a lot in, like, solving modern technological problems.”
Some of the student research, while theoretical, extends into real-world applications.
Madelynn Lytle, a senior math major from Blountstown, Florida, who presented on “Unique Colorability of Mixed Hypergraphs,” said her study is applicable to neurosurgery.
“There are different parts of the brain that are connected, and sometimes they are connected to other parts too,” Lytle said. “That’s why you can use a hypergraph to kind of model them.”
MathFest concluded with its traditional calculus competition, which was won by Matthew Kim of the University of West Florida.
Firestine expressed interest in participating again.
“For anybody looking to go to grad school and do anything in mathematics, it’s great practice,” she said.