Keynote Speaker

   This year’s keynote speakers will be

Dr. Evelyn J. Lamb, Mathematics Writer 

Visualizing Hyperbolic Geometry

Abstract: For two thousand years, mathematicians tried to prove that Euclidean geometry, the geometry you probably learned in high school, was all there was. But it’s not! In the early nineteenth century, János Bolyai and Nikolai Lobachevsky independently discovered that by tweaking one of Euclid’s postulates, geometry can look totally different. We will explore the rich world of hyperbolic geometry, one of the new and beautiful systems of geometry that results from this tweak. Our guides on the adventure will be mathematically inspired artists and artistically inspired mathematicians, including M.C. Escher, Daina Taimina, and Henry Segerman.

Evelyn Lamb is a freelance math and science writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She got her Ph.D. in math from Rice University in 2012 and worked as a postdoc at the University of Utah until 2015, when she left academia to pursue writing full-time. She started her writing career with an AAAS-AMS mass media fellowship writing for Scientific American. Her work has appeared in news outlets including Scientific American, Slate, Nature News, Smithsonian, and New Scientist. She writes the Scientific American blog Roots of Unity, co-writes the American Mathematical Society’s Blog on Math Blogs, and co-hosts the podcast My Favorite Theorem. Follow on Twitter: @evelynjlamb.

Dr. Julie Barnes of Western Carolina University

Using Complex Functions to Create Coloring Book Images

Abstract: Have you ever seen coloring books for adults?  Now imagine working on a math problem only to find an image appear that looks like it came straight out of a coloring book for adults!  This is exactly what happened to the speaker and her co-author as they were attempting to explore the graphical behavior of complex functions – a feat in itself since any graph of a complex function would be four dimensional.  In this talk we go through the process behind creating a coloring book from complex functions.  This involves looking at some basic properties, computing and classifying critical points, and exploring relationships between iterates of functions and their corresponding Julia sets.  We will consider a variety of artistic features found in contour plots and describe the math behind these features.  Finally, we will provide a brief description of how to search for functions that would produce interesting coloring book images.

Julie Barnes earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996. She has been teaching at Western Carolina University ever since, with the exception of one year as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.   Nationally, she is one of the Associate Directors for MAA Project NExT, which is a professional development program for new mathematics faculty.  Julie enjoys creating a wide variety of hands-on teaching ideas for her classes, and won the North Carolina State Board of Governors Teaching Award in 2007.  She has also written a recipe book of hands on teaching ideas that should be coming out soon.  In addition, she has organized Math Treasure Hunts for students at the Southeast MAA meeting every year since 2006, and she helped organize two Radical Dash student events at national meetings.  Julie’s research area is a cross between complex dynamical systems and ergodic theory, and she and her co-authors won an MAA Allendoerfer Award in 2016 for expository writing in that field.  This past summer, she also co-authored a mathematical coloring book titled, “A Coloring Book of Complex Function Representations.”  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, playing racquetball, and hanging out with two cats who insist on helping her grade math papers by sitting on them.