During Centre College’s CentreTerm in January, six students and seven faculty members traveled to Baltimore, Maryland for the Join Math Meetings, the largest mathematics conference in the world.
At the meeting, five faculty members presented and four students gave poster presentations on research they had been working on.
The faculty presenters were Alex McAllister, H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics; Jeff Heath, associate professor of mathematics; Joel Kilty, Elizabeth Molloy Dowling Associate Professor of Mathematics; Lesley Wiglesworth, associate professor of mathematics; and John Wilson, H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics.
The student presenters were Tim Ablondi ’20, Zeyang Huang ’20, Jordan Turley ’19 and Yifan Ye ’19.
Ablondi and Ye gave a poster presentation on their joint research on a field of mathematics known as knot theory. Last summer, the two of them worked alongside Prayat Poudel, assistant professor of mathematics, researching open questions in the field.
“A few weeks into our research, we were able to prove a result that showed a two-bridge link’s p value is related to the parity of the link’s linking numbers,” Ablondi explained. “For the conference, we created a poster that showed this result and how we reached it. We presented our poster to three judges for 15 minutes each and then the hall was opened to the general public for the next 90 minutes.”
Ablondi said it was an incredible experience to present at the conference, and he is thankful for the opportunity to attend.
“After graduation, I want to continue studying mathematics in graduate school,” he said. “This opportunity allowed me to see a little of what it is like to be a mathematician outside of the classroom. I was amazed to see all of the different types of research currently going on in mathematics. The ability to sit in the same room as the same people you hear about in class was awesome in the truest sense of the word.”
Heath said this conference gives students the chance to be on a national stage and present the research they’ve been working so hard on.
Wiglesworth added that this is an important experience for students, because they are able to see mathematics outside of the College. She said this helps the students become better presenters and gives them the opportunity to mingle with other students and see other research projects.
Kelsey Sutton ’19 also attended the meeting as a learning and enrichment experience. She was able to attend talks that related to her future career in math education, as well as support her professor and fellow classmates as they presented.
“This conference was a unique experience in which I got to grow as a future educator, gain knowledge to help me prepare my own research presentation coming up at the end of March, and support my professors and peers,” she said. I walked away from the conference with improved knowledge on teaching mathematics and presenting research. I developed a greater love and appreciate for mathematics and my future career in math education. I was also able to gain confidence in my mathematical abilities while attending the conference.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
March 11, 2019