We told you in January about the fantastic TORUS math conference (note: the O in TORUS stands for Oklahoma!). Jeffery Dittenber, an OU math major who went with Dr. Hall to TORUS, volunteered to tell about his many adventures. We asked him the same questions we asked the ladies who went to Nebraska. It sounds like TORUS should also become an annual event for OU students!
Unfortunately, TORUS is not held in the Stanford Torus.
Here’s what Jeffery had to say about TORUS:
0. Why did you decide to go to TORUS?
I decided to go because I love math and learning about math in a no pressure atmosphere. I was interested in seeing what a math conference would be like. Also, I was interested in finding out about student presentation material for next semester.
1. What happens at this conference? What did you do there?
The conference has two key speakers, who were math professors (PhDs) and they were separated by several student presentations. The student presentations were very broad in subject matter and all understandable to a math major. There was a panel comprised of people who work in mathematics careers. They answered questions from the audience. There was lunch included and served as well as snacks and beverages. At the end, there was a friendly “Math Jeopardy” competition that was a lot of fun.
2. Give 5 words that describe the TORUS conference.
Fun. Friendly. Inspiring. Interesting. Worthwhile. Repeatable.
3. What was your expectation for the conference? What did it actually turn out to be like?
I thought I would hear talks on higher level geometries that were very specialized and I would just sort of listen and nod and try to make sense of what I was hearing. On the contrary, it was all very understandable, and I look very forward to presenting my own talk next year. I might do a talk on the Buckingham Pi Theorem. I just learned about it today from a colleague.
4. What was the coolest math thing you heard?
The coolest thing I heard was that there were engineers turning to mathematicians to find formulas and equations for their projects. I was very happy to hear this!
5. What’s the best piece of information you received at the conference? The thing you will be sure to remember?
The best piece of information I learned my way of learning and studying math (by making videos and tutoring) is a real and researched way to learn math. I thought I was the only person who had to be able to explain how to do a problem to be able to understand it. I learned a lot that vindicated a lot of ideas I had about learning and teaching math.
6. What would you say to someone thinking about going to next year’s conference?
I say definitely do it. Even present a talk. I think it is a great experience and probably a good “trial run” for doing mathematics professionally.