Greetings from the Chair

      This is the first newsletter sent out by the Department of Mathematics.  We hope that students, former students, former faculty members, and friends of the department will find it interesting and informative.  We would welcome any comments or suggestions on how we could improve future issues.  Suggestions for the name of the newsletter would also be welcomed.
      On the back of this issue, you will find a form that you can complete to bring us up to date on your activities; please take time to fill it out and return it to us.  You can also communicate with us by e-mail and visit our web site; addresses can be found on the back of this issue.  We hope to hear from you.

Margaret P. Gessaman   
Department Chair     

What's Happening

      In 1998-1999, the Department of Mathematics initiated an effort to organize a Math Club for mathematics majors and other interested students.  The focus was on preparing students to take the Putnam Exam, a very challenging and competitive mathematics examination sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America, and on organizing one event with broad appeal for students interested in mathematics.  In December, three students took the Putnam Exam; one completed two questions correctly - that may not sound like a lot, but it really is a notable accomplishment for a first-time effort.  In the spring, a Mathematics Job Fair featured a panel discussion on job opportunities for mathematics majors.  This event was a real success; you can read more about it in this issue.

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      This year, the Club is off to a good start.  Two meetings have already been held with a good response from students -- an organizational meeting and an informal discussion about graduate school with Todd Munson, a UNO alumnus who is in the final phase of a Ph.D. program in computer science at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  Seven students have signed up to take the Putnam Exam in December.  Plans are underway to have the Math club officially recognized as a campus organization.  Interested students should contact Dr. Griff Elder (554-4867) or Mrs. Judy Downey (554-2691).

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      The 1999-2000 Colloquium Series of the UNO Department of Mathematics is already underway.  On the first Thursday of each month, colloquia will be presented on the general topic of "What is Happening in Mathematics?"  These colloquia will feature presentations that are generally expository and

exploratory in nature.  The first presentation in this series was given by Dr. John Konvalina on October 7.  On the third Thursday of each month, colloquia will be presented on the general topic of "Mathematics without Borders."  These colloquia will feature presentations which focus on the application of mathematics.  Speakers on this topic have been Todd Munson and Jim Rogers, M.D.  Colloquia are normally held at 2:20 p.m. in DSC 255.  Refreshments are available from 2:00 p.m.  Everyone is welcome at the colloquia.  Information on future colloquia can be obtained from the departmental web site.

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      These days the topic of the New Millennium is coming up everywhere.  The Department of Mathematics will soon be launching a strategic planning effort, which will establish directions for the department during the 21st century.  The issues to be examined will include the best way to use the space that has been assigned to the department; hiring of new faculty members as positions are made available by retirement or resignation; curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels; increased support activities for students; the integration of technology into instruction; teaching reform; research directions; and outreach to the community.  Already underway are reviews of the MAT program and of the courses in operations research.  It should be an exciting time.  We'll keep you posted.  Let us know if you have any ideas you would like us to discuss.

"Mathematics is the queen of the sciences, and number theory the queen of mathematics."  Carl Friedrich Gauss

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