News and Information

The Math Contest in Modeling  was held from Thursday-Monday January 19-23, 2017.

For more information on the competition and on forming a team, contact Trung Can <> and David Kraines <>.


Steve Miller, Williams College

On Wednesday, Sep. 7th 2016, Dr. Steve Miller gave a Number Theory Seminar talk (Finite conductor models for zeros near the central point of elliptic curve L-functions) and a DUMU lecture (Why the IRS cares about the Riemann Zeta Function and Number Theory (and why you should too!) Abstract ) to interested people.

Dr. Steve Miller is Associate Professor of mathematics at Williams College and Program Director for SMALL, a 9-week intensive research program in mathematics and statistics held each summer at Williams College.  He is a collaborator of Caroline Turnage-Butterbaugh, Elliot Assistant Research Professor of mathematics at Duke.

Chris Wiggins,  New York Times Chief Data Scientist

On Tuesday, Sep. 20th 2016, Dr. Chris Wiggins gave a talk about his perspective of data science.

Eugenia Cheng, Mathematician + Pianist

On October 3rd, 2016, Dr. Eugenia Cheng gave a public lecture about Category Theory (How to Bake Pi: Making abstract mathematics palatable).
Through unexpectedly connected examples from music, juggling, and baking, Dr. Eugenia Cheng showed that math can be made fun and intriguing for all, through hands-on activities, examples that everyone can relate to, and funny stories. She presented surprisingly high-level mathematics, including some advanced abstract algebra usually only seen by math majors and graduate students in an accessible way.

Ken Ono, Asa Griggs Candler Professor at Emory University

On Thursday, Jan. 26th 2017, Dr. Ken Ono gave “Math + Movie” talk named “Gems of Ramanujan and their Lasting Impact on Mathematics”.

Ramanujan’s work has has a truly transformative effect on modern mathematics, and continues to do so as we understand further lines from his letters and notebooks. In this lecture, some of the studies of Ramanujan that are most accessible to the general public were presented, and how Ramanujan’s findings fundamentally changed modern mathematics and also influenced the lecturer’s work were discussed.
Dr. Ken Ono is an Associate Producer of the film “The Man Who Knew Infinity” (starring Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons) about Ramanujan. He shared several clips from the film in the lecture.

Francis Su, Harvey Mudd College

On Monday, February 13th, Dr. Francis Su spoke about voting in agreeable societies.

See His Abstract: When does a candidate have the approval of a majority? How
does the geometry of the political spectrum influence the outcome? What
does mathematics have to say about how people behave? When mathematical
objects have a social interpretation, the associated results have social
applications.  We will show how some classical mathematics can be used
to understand voting in “agreeable” societies.  This talk also features
research with undergraduates.

James Zou, Stanford University, and Duke Class of 2007

On Thursday, April 6th, Dr. James Zou gave a talk about The geometry of gender stereotype in word embeddings.

See his abstract: Machine learning has many powerful applications, but the blind deployment of machine learning runs the risk of amplifying biases present in data. In this talk, I’ll illustrate this challenge with word embeddings, a popular framework to represent English words as vectors which has been used in many AI systems. I’ll show how gender stereotypes are intrinsically captured by the geometry of the word vectors with disturbing implications. We developed an algorithm to modify the embedding geometry to reduce gender stereotypes while preserving the useful features of the data. The resulting debiased embeddings can be used in applications without amplifying gender bias.

Henry Segerman, Oklahoma State University

On April 18th, Dr. Henry Segerman gave a talk named “3D Shadows: Casting light on the fourth dimension”.
See the Abstract: Our brains have evolved in a three-dimensional environment, and so we are very good at visualising two- and three-dimensional objects. But what about four-dimensional objects? The best we can really do is to look at three-dimensional “shadows”. Just as a shadow of a three-dimensional object squishes it into the two-dimensional plane, we can squish a four-dimensional shape into three-dimensional space, where we can then make a sculpture of it. If the four-dimensional object isn’t too complicated and we choose a good way to squish it, then we can get a very good sense of what it is like. We will explore the sphere in four-dimensional space, the four-dimensional polytopes (which are the four-dimensional versions of the three-dimensional polyhedra), and various 3D printed sculptures, puzzles, and virtual reality experiences that have come from thinking about these things. I talk about these topics and much more in my new book, “Visualizing Mathematics with 3D Printing”.


Freshman Social (East Campus)