May 4  
•   3:00-4:00pm   •   Ford 201


Really Big Numbers,
Really Old Mathematics &
Endangered Internet Commerce

Mathematics began with roots in the basic concepts of space and number and has flowered into many wonderful forms. The creation and discovery of new mathematics have never been more active or vital than they are today. Mathematics is sometimes called the science of pattern and order. It relies on logic as a standard of truth, but uses observation and even experimentation as means of discovering truth. Mathematicians think of their work as a blend of science and art, sometimes elegant and beautiful, describing deep and useful creations. In addition to theorems and theories, mathematics offers distinct modes of thought which are both versatile and powerful for understanding the world.

Courses serve those who wish to make mathematics a part of a liberal arts education, those who desire a mathematics background for other disciplines, such as Computer Science, Economics or the natural sciences, those who wish to minor in Mathematics, and those who wish to major in Mathematics.

Mathematics majors choose careers in education, industry, business, banking and insurance serving as teachers, statisticians, industrial mathematicians, computer programmers or analysts, actuaries and research workers in the biological, management or social sciences. Their training can also serve as a stepping stone to professional training or graduate work in a variety of fields.

News and Events

  • Our MegaMenger fractal is now encased in plexiglass and has become a permanent installation in the math hearth!
  • Associate Professor Josh Laison is co-organizing the MOVES (Mathematics of Various Entertaining Subjects) Conference at the Museum of Mathematics in New York City August 2-4, 2015.
  • Associate Professor Peter Otto will be participating in the workshop titled Stochastic methods for non-equilibrium dynamical systems at the American Institute of Mathematics in San Jose, CA from June 1 to June 5, 2015.
  • The Willamette Mathematics Consortium Research Experiences for Undergraduates has been funded again by the National Science Foundation for the summers of 2015, 2016, and 2017!  Applications are due by March 1.  Find out more here.
  • On February 23, 2015, Willamette University announced that Professor Inga Johnson had been promoted to full professor.  Congratulations Inga!!!
  • In January 2015, Rebecca Harper (WU 2015) presented a poster in the student poster session at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio, Texas.  Becca's poster was titled Spatial Knowledge and Relatedness and was on the work she participated in during the MAXIMA REU last summer.
  • In January 2015, alumni Ross Casebolt (WU 2012) shared with us that he recently completed his first term as a graduate student at Portland State University pursuing his M.S. in Mathematics degree. 
  • Former Adjunct Professor Dr. Henry Walter Lennstrom passed away on January 1, 2015 with Alzheimer’s Disease. Henry taught as an adjunct professor in the math department at Willamette University from 1980-1986. 
  • We completed our level 3 MegaMenger sponge on October 26, 2014!  We were fifth out of the 20 worldwide MegaMenger sites to complete the project.  The finished fractal sponge is made of over 66,000 folded business cards, stands 5 feet tall, and took about 1000 person-hours to complete.  News of the project appeared in the the Statesman Journal twice, once on the front page, and in the Huffington Post.  The organizer of the MegaMenger project, Matt Parker, visited the sponge in November.  The math department is currently working to encase the fractal in plexiglass, making it a permanent installation in Ford Hall.
  • During the month of October 2014, Willamette is taking part in the MegaMenger distributed fractal building project. To join our construction team, contact Josh Laison at jlaison@willamette.edu or call x6689. To learn more information, visit www.MegaMenger.com.
  • Associate Professor Josh Laison traveled to Wurzburg, Germany in September 2014 to give a poster in the 22nd International Symposium on Graph Drawing.  The research he presented was a collaboration with Professor Colin Starr and others.  
  • Joining the department this year is Visiting Assistant Professor Spencer Sitton.  Professor Sitton recently completed his PhD in Mathematics at Utah State University in the area of Differential Geometry.  Outside of academics Professor Sitton enjoys spending his time hiking, mountaineering, and in particular, rock climbing.  Welcome Spencer!
  • Students from the Willamette Mathematics REU in summer 2014 gave six talks at MathFest, the national summer conference of the Mathematical Association of America, and won three awards for outstanding presentations.  Students giving talks included Willamette's own Jessica Kawana and Eric Samelson.
  • Associate Professor Kathryn Nyman gave an invited talk in the Computational Aspects of Algebra, Geometry and Combinatorics session and alumni Andrew Bishop (WU '14) gave a talk in the Pi Mu Epsilon Student Paper Session at MathFest 2014 in August in Portland, OR.
  • Associate Professor Erin McNicholas was the invited speaker at the Willamette Valley REU-RET consortium meeting held at Willamette University on August 1, 2014.  The title of her talk was "Permutation Puzzles, the Cube Group, and REALLY BIG Numbers".
  • Associate Professor Kathryn Nyman was an assistant facilitator at the AMS Mathematical Research Community (MRC) on Algebraic and Geometric Methods in Applied Discrete Mathematics in Snowbird, Utah in June 2014 and she was a member of the organizing committee for the International Formal Power Series and Combinatorics Conference (FPSAC) in Chicago in late June/early July, 2014.
  • Associate Professor Inga Johnson participated in the Algebraic Topology - Methods, Computation and Science 6 (ATMCS6) workshop held at the University of British Columbia from May 26 - May 30, 2014.  At the workshop, Professor Johnson met up with Greg Henselman (WU 2008) who is currently in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania.

News and events archive