Langenhop Lecture | Mathematics | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics

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billard photoProfessor Bryna KraLouis H. Kauffman making knotsSarnak poster element

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The Langenhop Lectures are made possible by the generous funding from Carl E. Langenhop.

Previous Speakers:

Commentary on the Analysis of Complex Data, Dennis Cook, University of Minnesota, October 28, 2022
Mathematics through the (MAA) Looking Glass, Dr. Michael Pearson, Executive Director, MAA, May 14, 2019
Political Blogs - A Dynamic Text Network, David Banks, Duke University, May 14, 2018
Research, Education, and Outreach at the Interface of Math and Biology, Suzanne Lenhart, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, May 15, 2017
An Elementary Introduction to Langlands Program, Freydoon Shahidi, Purdue University, May 16, 2016
The Role of Mathematics & Statistics in Science & Society, Lynne Billard, University of Georgia, April 29, 2015
Patterns and Disorder, Bryna Kra, Stanford University, April, 23, 2014
Introduction to Virtual Knot Theory, Louis H. Kauffman, University of Illinois, 2013
Number theory and the circle packings of Apollonius, Peter Sarnak, Princeton University, March 2, 2012

Commentary on the Analysis of Complex Data | Dr. Dennis Cook

Langenhop Lecture | October 28, 2022 | Engineering Auditorium, A111 | 5:30PM

Abstract: The evolution of statistical ideas, along with the associated methodology, often follow the emergence of new forms of information from the applied sciences.  Data arising from these innovations are often regarded as complex in the sense that analysis methods remain unsettled until the scientific communities involved reach a consensus on accepted practices.  We will begin by  discussing  a few notable instances of complex data over the past 200 years, leading to critiques of high dimensional data and big data, two forms of novel contemporary data for which methods of analysis, in my view, remain unsettled.


Mathematics through the (MAA) Looking Glass | Dr. Michael Pearson

Langenhop Lecture | May 14, 2019 | Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library | 4:00PM

Abstract: Through the 20th Century, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) has told the story of mathematics through its publications, inspired math- ematicians at all stages of their careers, and led the mathematical sciences community in curriclar and pedagogical innovation.

The MAA has explored the role of mathematics across our society to help inform and shape the future. For example, beginning in the 1950’s to the present, the MAA Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathe- matics has informed curricular decisions that effect almost all undergraduate students today.

In this talk, I’ll share stories from a variety of MAA sources from the past to the present, and engage in some speculation about the role of the MAA in what promises to be an ever-more mathematical future.


Political Blogs - A Dynamic Text Network | David Banks

Langenhop Lecture | May 14, 2018 | Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library | 4:00PM

Abstract: Many applications (the Internet, Wikipedia) concern networks of documents.  We mine the corpus that consists of all U.S. political blog posts in 2012.  We use recent advances in dynamic network modeling to improve the topic discovery, and recent research on text mining to improve the network modeling.  We describe a preliminary analysis based on the subset of blog posts that concern the shooting of Trayvon Martin, and then a full analysis of the entire corpus, at a coarser level of resolution.


Research, Education, and Outreach at the Interface of Math and Biology| Suzanne Lenhart

Langenhop Lecture | May 15, 2017 | Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library | 4:00PM

Abstract: Working in research in mathematical biology has provided me a variety of interesting collaborations and topics. From my work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, I will describe our work in using optimal control to improve cardiopulmonary resuscitation, for which we received a U.S. patent. As the Associate Director for Education and Outreach at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, I will tell about activities ranging from STEM camps for middle school girls to our Research Experiences for Undergraduate Programs. Summaries of some of my work with undergraduate and graduate students will be presented. 

Check out the video from this year's conference!

Video of lecture   Slideshow   Poster

An Elementary Introduction to Langlands Program | Freydoon Shahidi

Langenhop Lecture | May 16, 2016 | Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library | 4:00PM

Abstract: We use a simple counting function to introduce two different aspects of Langlands program through some basic special cases: Spectral theory of Maass forms and Artin reciprocity law. The talk is aimed at a general audience with some very basic mathematical familiarity. But no specialized knowledge of number theory is assumed.

Poster  Slideshow

The Role of Mathematics & Statistics in Science & Society | Lynne Billard

Langenhop Lecture | April 29, 2015 | Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library | 7:30PM

Abstract: Whatever our interests may be, whether that be the social sciences, medical sciences, history, physical sciences, mathematical sciences, and so on, statistics and statisticians have a roll to play in helping us decipher th einformation pertaining to those interests that surround us daily. Against the backdrop of a brief historical view of its applications, we illustrate the role of mathematics and statistics in a variety of situations, including cases where the obvious technique is not necessarily the best analysis to employ.

Poster   Video of lecture

Patterns and Disorder | Bryna Kra

Langenhop Lecture | April 23, 2014 | Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library | 7:30PM

What does it mean for a mathematical object to be ordered?  To be disordered?  If we look at a set of numbers that is large in some sense, does it have to contain any patterns?  How small can we make such a set, but still have it contain interesting configurations?  We explore different notions of patterned and random sets, starting with ancient ideas and ending with still unsolved problems. 

Poster   Video of Lecture

Introduction to Virtual Knot Theory | Louis H. Kauffman

Langenhop Lecture | 2013

Abstract: Virtual knot theory is a study of embeddings of circles in thickend orientable surfaces. This is a particularly interesting case of knots in arbitrary three-manifolds. In the case of virtual knot theory, there is a corresponding diagrammatic theory that is remarkably similar to the familiar theory of knot diagrams for classical knots and links. As a result, it is possible to use a mixture of geometric and combinatorial topology to study virtual knots. There are many interesting phenomena and it is the intent of this talk to introduce some of these and to show how the Jones polynomial and its relatives fit into the virtual context.

Video of lecture

Number theory and the circle packings of Apollonius | Peter Sarnak

Langenhop Lecture | 2012

Like many problems in number theory, the questions that arise from packing the plane with mutually tangent circles are easy to formulate but difficult to answer. We will explain the basic features of such integral packings and how modern tools from number theory, group theory (symmetries) and combinatorics are being used to answer some of these old questions.

Peter Sarnak is a member of the permanent faculty at the School of Mathematics of the Institute for Advanced Study and has been Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University since 2002. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society (UK). He received numerous awards including the Polya Prize (1998) and the Frank Nelson Cole Prize (2005). Professor Sarnak’s interest in mathematics is wide-ranging. He has made major contributions to number theory, analysis, combinatorics and mathematical physics. Professor Sarnak is a colorful and engaging speaker, with a broad and deep command of a wide range of mathematical subjects, and an unsurpassed ability to convey the historical context and the big-picture significance of mathematical ideas.

Video of lecture