Mathematics Awareness Month, April 2003

Abstracts

April 02, 2002

Mathematics Symposium: "Mathematics Awareness Month at UNO"

    John Konvalina
      "Claude Shannon: Mathematician, Electrical Engineer, and Father of Information Theory"
        Claude Shannon (1916-2001) was one of the greatest applied mathematicians of the 20th century. His Master's Thesis on the connection between Swithching Circuits and Boolean Algebra is considered one of the most significant ever written. His seminal research in the mathematical theory of communication was pioneering and earned him the title: Father of Information Theory.

    Gary L. Beck
      "Super-Heroic Statistics: A Randomized Study "
        Objectives: Avid comic book readers report, as children, finding heroes in the comics to be role models. Given this perception, it would logically lead one to believe more characters in comics would be more representative of the diverse population of the U.S. However, a walk through a local comic shop and glancing at the covers of comic books gives a different picture. The trend is that comic book characters are predominantly muscle-bound, Caucasian males, not reflecting the general public at all. Methods: DC Comics and Marvel Comics have been publishing super-hero comics longer than other companies. Both companies published comprehensive indexes in the early 1990's as monthly comic books (Who's Who in the DC Universe, 35 issues; The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, 28 issues). In these issues, each character had a single page dedicated to him or her; therefore, five page numbers per issue were randomly drawn to provide a representative sampling from each company's character population. Demographic information was recorded about each character based on the descriptions published. Data selected for analysis were the year the character was introduced, gender, body type, role in the comics, hair color, skin color, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, and race. Information based on the apparent age of the character was also collected; however, due to artistic renditions, gauging the ages of characters was deemed too subjective to be included. Statistical analyses have been done on the data in aggregate for baseline summaries of the study results. Comparisons have also been made between companies to elicit if there are differences in character make-up of the companies. Conclusions: Results of the analyses will be presented during the symposium.

    Andrew Buchan
      "Cellular Automata and Art"
        The talk will be on vary basic and fundamental properties of one-dimensional cellular automata. A one-dimensional cellular automaton consists of two things: a lattice of cells and a set of rules. It is a dynamical system that evolves discretely in time with respect to the possible state of the cells and the rules that govern those states. They are easy to describe and to construct, but, despite their simplicity, the evolution of 1-D CA is quite unpredictable and unexpected graphical phenomenon emerge. We shall look at several examples of 1-D CA that produce such phenomenon, and keeping with the spirt of the day, there will be pretty pictures we may admire generated by 1-D CA.

    Valentin Matache
      "Three Most Popular Themes on Art and Mathematics "
        The talk will surf the following topics, which in the speaker's opinion are most illustrative of the connection between Art and Mathematics. 1. The Golden Section and its connection with works of art in the ancient world, the Renaissance, and even more modern times. 2. The work of the artist and mathematician Maurice Escher. 3. Fractals and the development of the fractal art in the computer era.