DUMU Events

Upcoming Events

Past Events

Undergraduate Math Awards Luncheon

Each spring before final exams, math students and faculty gather to share food and conversation.  DUMU officers, those who compete in the MCM/ICM and Putnam competitions, and research students in Data+DOMath and PRUV are introduced and receive a Duke Math shirt. The Karl Menger Prize for excellence in math competitions, the Julia Dale Prizes for excellence in mathematics by first year students and by seniors, and the Excellence in Mathematical Research Award are awarded.

Photo albums from previous Undergraduate Math Awards Parties:

Past Lectures Unveiling Maths (PLUM):

12/6/17    L. Mahadevan [Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Mathematics]:  Talk title:  "Morphogenesis:  geometry, physics and biology"

Abstract:  A century after the publication of D'Arcy Thompson's classic On growth and form his vision has finally begun to permeate into the fabric of modern biology.  Within this framework, I will show how a combination of biological and physical experiments, mathematical models and computations allow us to begin unraveling the physical basis for morphogenesis in the context of examples such as shoots, leaves, guts and brains.  Flyer

4/6/17     James Zou  [Stanford University, Duke Class of 2007]:  Dr. James Zou gave a talk about the geometry of gender stereotype in word embeddings.

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.

2/13/17    Francis Su  [Harvey Mudd College]:  Dr. Francis Su spoke about voting in agreeable societies.

See the 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.

1/26/17    Ken Ono  [Asa Griggs Candler Professor at Emory University]:  Dr. Ken Ono gave a “Math + Movie” talk titled “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.

10/3/16   Eugenia Cheng [Mathematician + Pianist]:  Dr. Eugenia Cheng gave a public lecture about Category Theory titled "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.

9/20/16  Chris Wiggins [New York Times Chief Data Scientist]:  Dr. Chris Wiggins gave a talk about his perspective of data science.

9/7/16     Steve Miller [Williams College]:  Dr. Steve Miller is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Williams College and the Program Director for SMALL, a nine-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.

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