Math Club Lecture Series
The Math Club Lecture Series (MCLS) is an open-topic student-run lecture series in the spirit of the computer science UDLS and Ted Talks.
Lectures are at 15:00 (3:00 PM) on Wednesdays in MATX 1100 (the classroom beside the Math Club in the Math Annex). Tea, cookies, and other treats are available afterwards in the Math Club (MATX 1119). Anybody is welcome to attend. To sign up for email notifications of upcoming talks, join our Google Group.
What are the talks like?
The structure of the talks is really up to the speaker and how they feel the topic is best communicated; we've had speakers do traditional blackboard-based talks, but we've also had highly engaging workshop-style talks and debate/discussion sessions. To encourage the creativity and interactivity of the talks, we eschew PowerPoint and a projector is only available upon request. Depending on the talk, it may be funny, it may be thought-provoking, informative, fascinating, or useful, but, as a general guarantee, worth your time. Come out and check them out for yourself!
Call for Speakers (How to Sign-Up for a Talk)
This is a volunteer-driven series. Anybody is eligible to give a talk -- don't be shy! (Please specify a tentative topic. A final topic and an abstract for it will be due 48 hours before the talk).
Tips for Speakers
The idea is for you to talk about some interest or hobby of yours which you enjoy talking about. Not only does this give you experience with presentations, but it's intended to be fun for you too! For your talk, endeavour for it to be at least two of the following: interesting, useful, and relevant to the audience. Your audience is primarily undergraduate, so please present something that the average undergrad will understand and appreciate. Also, please do not speak for more than twenty minutes -- we would like to save time for questions before teatime.
If you're stuck for ideas on a topic, here's some areas you might want to think of:
- Art history
- Creative writing
- The Environment
- Food & drink
- Languages and linguistics
February 9, 2011
Veronica Fynn: Say what? From Calculus to Law? (~20 minutes)
This presentation will be about my transition from pure science to arts, then social sciences before law. It will highlight the various motivating factors along the way that shifted my professional trajectory to what it is now. By the end of the session, students will learn to be open-minded and not be afraid to take risks especially when it comes to education. It will be an informal session (no power-point) where students will be able to engage/interact with myself on a somewhat personal level.
February 23, 2011
Jack Xu: My "Startup" Experience (~10 minutes)
My year with the UBC Dollar Project began in the summer of 2010 with myself and 4 other execs. All of us won our election by acclamation. Two left the club before the school year began. Since then, the UBC Dollar Project has re-invented their club identity, constructed a strong brand, completed many successful video projects, collaborated with AdvertisInc, Terry talks, Global Lounge, SLC, Rights and Democracy, Steppingbridge, and Oxfam, hosted two major conferences, won $1000 in funding from the UBC Global Fund, exceeded previous fundraising records, shifted club culture, led their most active exec team ever and won the award for the AMS active club of the year, among many other achievements. I will share my strategies and the solutions I implemented in addressing the various challenges through this process. I also will share my vision for the club in the years to come. I will then open the floor to feedback, discussion, and a sharing of stories with those present.
March 2, 2011
Michael Miller: A Bleak Chance of Wars in Space
I would like to lecture about contemporary tactics and strategies for defeating nations and armies of a superior technological capability.
March 9, 2011
Vacant: Sign-up via e-mail!
March 16, 2011
Vacant: Sign-up via e-mail!
March 23, 2011
Vacant: Sign-up via e-mail!
February 2, 2011
Adi Burton: Debating Darfur (~20 mins)
I'll talk about the potential for international precedent concerning genocide and how this conflict may change the face of international law...or not. It's really up to us.
January 26, 2011
Alex Ng: High-Dimensional Biology: From Data Scarcity to Information Overload (~20 minutes)
With the advent of the Human Genome Project, biologists are producing more data than they can process. How can statistical and computational methods help translate this information into knowledge and understanding? I will first pose the biological question in context, then illustrate examples of quantitative methods and its challenges.
January 19, 2011
Kelsey Allen: How to Survive the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse (~20 minutes)
I will be giving a brief presentation on how to survive a zombie apocalypse. This will only include Romero zombies, since there are far too many variants to cover them all. Information will include what to carry on you, possible location choices, party members, and goals at different stages of development after the apocalypse. This will be a very serious lecture!
January 12, 2011
Nishant Chandgotia: Some Curiosities about the Sphere (~40 minutes)
I will discuss a nice property of the sphere.
November 29, 2010
Jerome Li: Semantics of Mathematics (~30 minutes)
"Anything that can be done, can be done." This sentence is also known as the Church-Turing thesis, and forms the modern notion of computation. In this context, I will talk about the semantics of mathematics, and propose some more intuitive notation in the spirit of Tom Lamb's lecture.
November 22, 2010
Eric Naslund: Beta Function Approach to Summation Problems (~30 minutes)
In this talk, a method is explored and used to find short, elegant solutions to several difficult contest style summation questions. Some general sums are also computed. Everything hinges upon an identity related to the well-known Beta Function which will be derived during the talk. (The only prerequisite knowledge is first-year calculus, specifically integration and Taylor series)
November 8, 2010
Tom Lamb: Intuitive Notation and Hyper Operators (~30 mins)
I will be talking about two simple topics in math: a new mathematical notation which is was designed for readability; and Hyper Operators, which are what you get when you generalize the familiar plus, times, and exponent operators.
November 1, 2010
Mike Miller: Death from Above
First, a brief history and introduction to airborne warfare tactics. We will then analyze historical accounts of airborne warfare to determine their effectiveness.
October 18, 2010
Jerome Li: The Learning Machine (~20 mins)
The brain inspired the computer; as a result, one behaves much like the other. I will examine the parallels between the brain and the computer, and discuss their implications on education.
October 4, 2010
Evan Durno: A Proof of Godel Incompleteness (~40 mins)
Godel Incompleteness is explained in a proof of theoretical incompleteness in set theory. Proof of theoretical incompleteness in set theory will be given. Time allowing, a brief discussion on how this affects language will follow.
September 27, 2010
Michael Miller: A Spectacular Failure (~40 mins)
Asymmetric warfare in the 20th century has been a huge success and a huge failure for the most powerful nations. I will look at the development of counter insurgency, anti-guerrilla and counter terrorist warfare in the 20th century. Also, we will look at some major success and losses with different strategies to decide what went wrong or what went right.
September 20, 2010
Jacob Cosman: Famine Insurance (~25 mins)
Millions of farmers around the world depend largely on their own agricultural produce for sustenance, and therefore are particularly vulnerable to famine if the weather is suboptimal for agricultural production. For once, though, the global capitalist system might be able to help. This talk will discuss the advent of famine insurance, a financial instrument designed to protect subsistence farmers in the event of unexpected adverse growing conditions.
September 13, 2010
Elizabeth Patitsas: How To Get a Research Project Together (~20 mins)
Interested in getting into research, or planning to do more of it? The research proposal is the starting point of almost every major scientific undertaking -- this is when you communicate what you'll be researching and why it is important -- for the purposes of getting the all-important funding. For an undergraduate starting off in research, these proposals start off fairly brief -- we'll go over expectations in undergraduate research, with a focus on NSERC USRAs. We will also go over another important part of the proposal: the research supervisor. Tips for finding good supervisors and getting the most out of them. I aim for most of this to be in the form of a question/discussion period.
September 19, 2009
Elizabeth Patitsas: A Further Guide to World Revolutions
Extending upon the Guide to World Revolutions from America: The Book, we'll be looking at a few more important (but less famous) revolutions. The Athenian Revolution, Haitian Revolution, Algerian Revolution and (if time) Xinhai Revolution are covered. We'll be looking at the social causes of the revolutions, highlights of the ensuing events, the major changes that occurred, the lasting effects, and, of course, salad dressing.
September 23, 2009
Dan Came: Biomedical Applications of Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is a field brimming with possibilities, and the field of medicine is among those with greatest promise. This talk will provide a brief overview of current research topics, leading us into a look at two emerging technologies: Gold Nanoshells and the "Water Window"; and Nanoparticles and the Blood-Brain Barrier.
September 30, 2009
Nick Steinberg: Philosophy of Gender
The spectra of sex, gender, and sexual orientation (time permitting: proof that the continuum of human sexuality is isomorphic to a [compact?] subset of R12, hence not to a discrete topological space). History of roles that sexuality play in society and in personal identity, and discussion of their contemporary existence and relevance. Philosophical discussion of the morality of judging people and having expectations of them based on their perceived sexuality, with a focus on sexual segregation.
October 7, 2009
Thomas Prescott: How to Make Beer
With the high prices placed on alcohol today, the option of producing one's own beverages becomes ever more appealing. The proper processes must be followed to produce a product that not only provides the alcohol that is desired, but provides a flavour customized to the brewer's preference.
October 14, 2009
Ashley Cook: How to Draw Realistically
Maybe you gave up on drawing when you were little. Maybe someone told you that you sucked, and then you gave up after crying for a while. Well, you shouldn't have stopped, and anyone that said that to you is just mean and incorrect. I will try my best to guide you into picking up a pencil for more than note-taking or a stick person, and especially to help you see that drawing realistically simply takes practice and hard work. This is an interactive lecture and you should bring paper (ideally plain white paper) and a pencil.
October 21, 2009
Tom Lamb: How Words Betray Prejudice
If this talk were a book, its title would be 'SATAN SOWING SEEDS.' This is a talk about how to talk. It is my position that it is not always obvious when words carry different meanings; what might seem like a simple synonym can in fact sometimes reflect a negative sentiment in the speaker's mind. More importantly, though, I will try to demonstrate how these hidden meanings can negatively affect the world, regardless of their speaker's intent. Specifically, we'll be looking into the terms 'lesbian' and 'jew' and how they engender the dehumanization of their respective groups.
October 28, 2009
Henry Ngo: The Four Dinosaurs You Meet In Tutoring
This discussion is intended for students who are interested in tutoring or are current tutors. I hope to share some of my experiences with AMS Tutoring to start a discussion on strategies to work with several types of students, which can be given dinosaur nicknames: "Stegosaurus, Pterodactyls, T-Rexs, and Velociraptors". We will discuss students with all ranges of ability and motivation. I hope to have other experienced tutors to attend and add to the discussion as well!
November 4, 2009
Ray Goerke: The Case for Antitheism
I will rebut the apologetic's claim that, although it is right to vilify extremist religion, and despite any lack of logical or empirical justification or tenability of the claims, moderate religion is at best beneficial and at worst harmless to human society. I will argue that moderate religion, no matter how unwittingly, breeds extremist religion of all forms, that it necessitates the indoctrination of children, and that it is special pleading to argue that religion is a necessary crutch for the extremely unfortunate. I conclude that there is no place for organized religion of any form in a just and moral society.
November 18, 2009
Eric Naslund: The Rubik's Cube
Elizabeth Patisas & Nicholas Steinberg: Bicycles and Road Safety
This talk will cover how the cube actually works, a little history and the simple solutions. From this we will move to the art of speed cubing (how is it possible for anyone to solve it in under 15 seconds?) as well as the mystery of the completely blindfolded solution. Eric came down with swine flu shortly before the talk. Elizabeth Patitsas and Nicholas Steinberg filled in for him, speaking about bicycles and road safety. Eric's talk is likely to be presented later in the semester.
November 25, 2009
Théa McKerricher: Raw Foodism
Raw Foodists are people who consume a highly restricted, usually vegan diet of uncooked and unpasteurized foods, believing raw foods to be nutritionally superior to cooked ones. I will investigate and evaluate the many health claims of some prominent raw foodists, examining the nutritional chemistry involved.
January 11, 2010
Eric Naslund: The Rubik's Cube
The Rubik's cube is one of the most popular puzzles of all time. Over 350 million have been sold worldwide, and it was first marketed in the early 1980s, yet there are still many things people do not know about the cube. This talk will cover how the cube actually works, a little history and the simple solutions. From this we will move to the art of speed cubing (how is it possible for anyone to solve it in under 15 seconds?) as well as the mystery of the completely blindfolded solution.
January 18, 2010
Geoffrey Woollard: The Origin of Life
From ancient greek philosophy to germanic myth, many cultures offer explanations for the origin of life, and ours is no exception. With advances in biochemistry and microbiology we can now sketch out a reasonable transition from inanimate matter to animate life. However, can we sufficiently explain the interdependencies of cellular life by current mechanisms of evolution? Recent leaders in the field claim we can't, and have published popular books on this topic. I suggest we rethink our understanding of ancient evolution. I speculate that early life evolved as a community in which no clear organisms were present, because this model helps explain the emergence of the modern cell from an RNA world.
January 25, 2010
Jerome Li: How to Win a Debate
A look at techniques used by expert debaters to crush their opposition and emerge victorious on the verbal battlefield. Tongue firmly in cheek.
February 1, 2010
Gregory Livingstone: Nuclear Weaponry
The first functional nuclear weapon, Trinity, was tested on July 16th, 1945. Nuclear weapons quickly grew from 20kt to over 50mt. I will cover the most renowned and largest nukes, as well as interesting facts about their awe-inspiring power. I'll also discuss the nuclear stock progression up to today, and various nuclear tactics over the years. Time permitting, I will discuss the different reaction processes in weapons.
February 8, 2010
Rob Hocking: Visualizing Invisibility
Invisibility is a popular technology in science fiction movies. Although many movies give a plausible explanation for how the technology works (i.e. bending light around the object), the actual animations of objects turning invisible (usually the object ripples while gradually turning transparent) make no sense given the proposed mechanism. I will present a simple method for computing the appearance of an object as it is turning invisible. I will present videos of the method in action, which I argue are both cooler than the faked ripple/fade and much truer to the stated mechanism of bending light.
March 1, 2010
Michael Miller: Biological Warfare from the 1930s to 60s
No abstract submitted
March 8, 2010
Tom Lamb: Two Math Puzzles and a Computer with a Soul
In this talk, I will describe two math problems which I have been working on for a while, as well as a program which has a soul and can read minds (time permitting.) First, I will describe what I call "the nearest-exit problem," some of my work on it, and applications of its solution. Secondly, I will describe a seemingly simple game-theoretical question. Neither of these problems have been solved by me. Finally, time permitting, I will demo a small program which plays Rock-paper-scissors and is telepathic.
March 15, 2010
Gregory Livingstone: Nuclear Weaponry II
In my earlier talk I centered around the most important nuclear weapons of the nuclear era. This talk will center around the procurement, and effectiveness of nuclear materials. I'll also discuss nuclear tactics that were to be employed in the event of a nuclear war.
March 29, 2010
Elizabeth Patitsas: Sexual Strategies of Simians
A tour of sexual selection in the Infraorder Simiiformes (ie. apes and monkeys). I'll start with the social aspect of how primates tend to group (solitary, harems, fission-fusion, etc) and the ecological pressures behind them. From there, I'll be going over mating systems (pair-bonding, polygyny, polyandry, polygynandry, etc), male and female reproductive strategies, mate competiton, and the mappings between these approaches and the different societal groups. I will also discuss a few evolutionary theories of sexual selection, such as the Sexy Son Hypothesis and Zahavi's Handicap Principle. Time permitting, we'll do some game theoretic analysis.
April 12, 2010
Simon Hastings: Machine Learning and Text Recognition Software
No abstract submitted
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