2017 Festival: Dr. Alissa S. Crans, Loyola Marymount University

Dr. Alissa S. Crans, Loyola Marymount University

Dr. Alissa S. CransThe Mathematical Sciences Research Institute welcomes Dr. Alissa S. Crans back for the 2017 National Math Festival!

Dr. Alissa S. Crans has been recognized nationally for her enthusiastic ability to share and communicate mathematics, having been honored with the Hasse Prize for expository writing on mathematics, as well as with the 2011 Henry L. Alder Award for distinguished teaching by a beginning college or university mathematics faculty member. A presenter at the first National Math Festival in 2015, Crans has also been invited to speak at MoMath and in various lecture series including the MAA Distinguished Lecture and George Kitchen Memorial Lecture, as well as at numerous mathematical days for undergraduates. She is known for her active mentoring and support of women and underrepresented students and is dedicated to helping all students increase their appreciation and enthusiasm for the discipline. She proselytizes about math in settings that range from the public library to “Nerd Night” to public school classrooms. She is Professor of Mathematics at Loyola Marymount University, where her research interests lie in the field of higher-dimensional algebra and are currently supported by a Simons Foundation Collaboration Grant.

Patterns + Women = Figures in Mathematics

How many mathematicians can you name?  How many female mathematicians were on your list?  Come be introduced to Grace Chisholm Young, a prominent female mathematician known for the mathematics textbooks for children she co-authored with her husband. Together, we’ll discover an equation in their book about geometry, known as “Euler’s Formula,” that relates the number of vertices, edges, and faces of a given polyhedron. Note: This workshop is for middle and high school girls and their accompanying adults.

A Surreptitious Sequence: The Catalan Numbers

Many of us are familiar with famous sequences of numbers such as the odd numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, …, perfect squares 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, …, Fibonacci sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, … ,or the triangular numbers 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, … But what about the sequence 1, 1, 2, 5, 14, …? First described by Euler in the 1700s and made famous by Belgian mathematician Eugene Catalan 100 years later, these “Catalan numbers” take on a variety of different guises as they provide the solution to numerous problems throughout mathematics.