Mathematics Program - Vital Sines Volume 6, Issue 1

A newsletter of the Plattsburgh State University Mathematics Department

Volume 6, Issue 1 - October, 2004

Fac Pack Whacks Lack

A (small) pack of new faculty have joined us this year and have helped alleviate a staffing lack. We have asked them to introduce themselves:

Justin Wampler joins us as a lecturer. He writes:

Well let's hit the basics first. I was born and raised in Delaware, next to the U. of D. where my parents met. Went to the University of Chicago, graduated with honors in the class of1996, the school's centential, having sampled classes in most of the physical sciences. I took a year off (not by choice) before going to Penn State for two years to get my graduate degree. It was there I really figured out what I wanted to, as I got into my first teaching assignment and it really felt right. I discovered I'd rather be teaching than researching, as did Penn State, and that's when the two of us parted ways. That year I got three interviews and two offers. Of those, I took Miami University and taught there for five years. Full-time teaching was fantastic and I hated having to leave. As my time there came to an end, I once again found myself interviewing and this time it led me to SUNY Plattsburgh. I'm the middle child of three, the elder of which is married and has a house, guaranteeing that his finances will become part of my lectures pretty much forever, the younger of whom went to the Peace Corps and has spent more timeout of the country than I've spent out of Delaware. I've always loved the outdoors and still run when I get the chance. I'm fond of travel (tho I keep it in the country) and trying new places to go, music to listen to, and food to try (but chocolate and garlic have a permanent spot on my culinary dance card). I try to stay up to date with current events and technology because I hate not knowing what's going on, and I'm always looking for another example to use in class.

Greg Quenell joins us as an Assistant Professor. He writes (in third person): Greg is a 1985 graduate of Harvard College, where he majored in mathematics, but spent almost as much time going to choir, close-harmony, and pit orchestra rehearsals as he did going to class. After a short real-world stint as a computer programmer (writing thousands of lines of FORTRAN), he headed west to enter the PhD program at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. Since finishing his doctorate there in 1992, he has held positions in the mathematics departments at Bucknell University, Oberlin College, Vassar College, Manhattan College, and Mount Holyoke College. Greg has spent most of his summers and a few winters in the Adirondacks, where he has climbed many of the high peaks and hiked the full length of the Northville-Placid trail twice. He still plays the piano and the clarinet, even if no one asks him to. Finding his musical pursuits not to be noisy enough, he earned his pilot's license in 1999, and can often be seen (and heard) flying a rented Cessna around the North Country. He no longer writes FORTRAN.

Math club news

The math club continues with its two co-presidents: Anna Gadway and Marvelle Roberts.

Prof. Sam Northshield will speak to the Math Club Thursday, Oct. 21, at 6 pm. (room to be announced) on "Fractions and Farey Sequences". All are welcome.

Get Connected...

Attention, all Secondary Mathematics Education majors! Have we got a course for you! Next semester (Spring2005), we will offer MAT 410: Mathematical Connections to Adolescence Education. This course is designed specifically to answer the question, "What can I use all of this higher abstract mathematics for if I'm just going to teach in high school?" We will look at 6major areas of the high school curriculum (algebra, geometry, functions, trigonometry, probability, and discrete mathematics) and connect what you've studied in your mathematics major courses to the state curriculum and national standards. We will also look at appropriate uses of technology (graphing calculators and software) to augment the high school mathematics curriculum, bring in some history of mathematics, and even give you some exposure to the rubrics and grading of the New York State Regents Math A exam. This course will definitely be of great value to all of you who plan to teach middle or high school mathematics in New York. After you complete it, you should be ready to go to any job interview and say that you are ready to teach mathematics to the New York and national standards, and have some experience with state exam grading; that should make you very "marketable." Dr. Kenoyer will team-teach the course with Ms. Diane Coupal, who taught high school mathematics in the area for years and currently teaches the mathematics portion of the content-specific methods class in Adolescence Education. If you have any questions, contact Dr. Kenoyer.

Math and Chemical Engineering...

Professor Linda Jewell of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, will talk about how math is used in Chemical Engineering. The talk will be in Professor Bodenrader's core class on Friday, 1-1:50, in Hawkins 135. Linda has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and has been visiting the University of Kentucky for the past few months. The talk will be accessible to students and all are welcome.

Alumni News

Scott Bianco writes: " I am still working towards my PhD at the University at Albany (in my second year). I will complete my masters at the end of this year. I have received a teaching assistantship so I learn for free, plus get a nice stipend. I will be working in the math tutoring room as a teaching assistant. Next year I hope to be teaching a calculus or statistics class. I will be taking courses in Algebraic topology, Algebra 2, and statistics. I have become close with many of the grad students and we often party, study, and take classes together."

Jessica Kuby writes: "I moved to Saratoga Springs at the beginning of September. I am going back to school for my Masters in Education at The College of St. Rose. So far I really enjoy it. I hope to start subbing this week too."

Rachel Kowalowski writes: "I have been in Boston now for a little over a year. I did some substitute teaching in a city outside of Boston, but then a permanent job came along. So that is where I am at now -- being a Mutual Fund Accountant for Investors Bank and Trust. This April I moved to Burlington, MA, it is about 10 miles outside of Boston. I love it where I am now, but I don't really enjoy the commute everyday. I have just applied for another job, as a Cost Estimator for a company that works for the government estimating costs of projects for the air force, navy and all of those good things! Keep your fingers crossed, this sounds like a dream job!! If I do get it, I will tell you all about it then :)

Aileen Lord writes "I am a full time sub at the high school that I went to and will hopefully be taking over in January. There's this new transitional program for math and science majors in New York State and I was accepted into the Masters program at Mount Saint Mary College. I am going for my Masters in both Secondary Education in Mathematics and Special Education. I have been taking a bunch of classes and it's great. My school just implemented a new test for my major. It's called a major field test and I thought that it was going to be all about algebra and pre calc. It was a test on all the math classes that I took in my undergrad at the burgh! It was tough since I hadn't seen some of that stuff in four years but I am confident that I did well. [Ed. note: Aileen (and Chris Pavone) were the first of our students to give a talk at the Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference.]

Phil Sweet writes:Currently I am teaching seventh grade math at the Lake Placid Middle/High School. I am applying for admission to the Masters of Education (Curriculum and Instruction) at Plattsburgh State.

God created infinity, and man, unable to understand infinity, had to invent finite sets.
~~Gian Carlo Rota

Kudos to...

All the award winners of last Spring:

  • Hudson Scholarship winner Anna Gadway
  • Mathematics Scholars Award winners Leandra Joseph, Daniel McPhee, Alaina Reinwald, and Marvelle Roberts.
  • Mathematics Distinguished Service Award winners Erica Brooks, Alaina Reinwald, and Marvelle Roberts.
  • Kathleen T. Schaffer Award winners Anna Gadway, Donald Kaupelis, Timothy Kermani, Diana LeBarron, Amanda McNeil, and Patrick Parker
  • Semmler Math Endowment nominees Todd Ford, Victoria Lu, and Marvell Roberts.

Never stand on the outside looking in, unless it's a jail.
~~Spike Hennessy

Metric Conversion Chart:

1012 Microphones = 1 Megaphone

500 millinaries = 1 seminary

2000 mockingbirds = two kilo mockingbirds

10 cards = 1 decacards

1021 picolos = 1 gigolo

10 rations = 1 decoration

3 1/3 tridents = 1 decadent

1 millihelen = quantity of beauty required to launch one ship

1 millionth of a mouthwash= 1 microscope

Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knot-furlong

365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer because it's less filling = 1 lite year

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

1 Henway = 2 or 3 pounds

You are remembered for the rules you break.
~~Gen. Douglas MacArthur


A logic problem: If A, B, C are three propositions such that any two imply the third and such that A^B^C is not identically false, then must A, B, and C be identical? Prove or give a counterexample.

Please submit your solution to Prof. Northshield. The first and/or best solution will permit you to choose a prize from the 'big box'o'prizes' in Northshield's office.

Closing Credits

Editor: Sam Northshield
Assistant Editor: Margaret Morrow