Although last Wednesday’s Math Club was the last of the “official 5pm on Wednesdays” Math Club of the semester, there is a great event this
Friday, April 29th at 11:45 am in PHSC 424 (the Math Dept. lounge).
Dr. Zongzhu Lin is a math professor at Kansas State University. For the last two years he has also been a Program Officer in the Math division of the National Science Foundation. He’ll be giving a brief presentation plus a question/answer session on graduate funding opportunities with the NSF. How does an all-expenses-paid fellowship from the NSF sound?
His focus will be on information for undergrads and grads thinking math grad school. But the NSF supports all the sciences, so even if you’re thinking about grad school in physics, chemistry, computer science, biology, etc., you should also stop by.
As always, Free Pizza!
Summer seems a long way off, but now is the time to think about what you’ll be doing Summer 2011. Hopefully you’re thinking about a summer internship or an REU (REU stands for Research Experience for Undergraduates). We talked about them last year here.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that there is many, many cool summer jobs that involve using and learning math. Much better than working at the local Kwik-E-Mart, eh?
There are all sorts of opportunities both in the corporate world and in the government/university world. We’ll post any announcements here on the Math Club blog, but you should also go to OU Math Dept. webpage for math majors to find listings for lots of other opportunities.
Definitely check out the OU webpage about summer research opportunities. There you’ll find a comprehensive list of the math REUs funded by the National Science Foundation along with lots of other good resources. Including a handy cheat sheet of tips on how to go about applying.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that:
Many deadlines are in January-March!
So act fast! (Especially because you usually need letters of recommendation and professors can become grumpy when asked for letters on short notice! )
- Or here?
If you were with us last year, then you know that nerds, geeks, math folk, and pi(e) lovers everywhere celebrate March 14th as day. Last year we talked about some fun facts about the number . This year, we’re going to talk about a few of the $\pi$ day related things going on out there.
- At ScienceBlogs they’re having a day Pie Bakeoff! You can submit your Aunt Matilda’s famous pie recipe and win fame and riches. But be warned, the competition is stiff. Last year’s winner was:
Spicy Pi Bacon Squared
- If you’re feeling fashionable, you could get some cherry day earrings:
- Or maybe a day T-shirt:
- Or perhaps read a Nobel Laurate’s poem about :
The admirable number pi:
three point one four one.
All the following digits are also initial,
five nine two because it never ends.
It can’t be comprehended six five three five at a glance,
eight nine by calculation,
seven nine or imagination,
not even three two three eight by wit, that is, by comparison
four six to anything else
two six four three in the world.
The longest snake on earth calls it quits at about forty feet.
Likewise, snakes of myth and legend, though they may hold out a bit
The pageant of digits comprising the number pi
doesn’t stop at the page’s edge.
It goes on across the table, through the air,
over a wall, a leaf, a bird’s nest, clouds, straight into the sky,
through all the bottomless, bloated heavens.
Oh how brief – a mouse tail, a pigtail – is the tail of a comet!
How feeble the star’s ray, bent by bumping up against space!
While here we have two three fifteen three hundred nineteen
my phone number your shirt size the year
nineteen hundred and seventy-three the sixth floor
the number of inhabitants sixty-five cents
hip measurement two fingers a charade, a code,
in which we find hail to thee, blithe spirit, bird thou never wert
alongside ladies and gentlemen, no cause for alarm,
as well as heaven and earth shall pass away,
but not the number pi, oh no, nothing doing,
it keeps right on with its rather remarkable five,
its uncommonly fine eight,
its far from final seven,
nudging, always nudging a sluggish eternity
Wislawa Szymborska (Polish Nobel Laureate: 1996)
- Or, if you thought Lucy Kaplansky was the only person who sings a song:
Is there a plan B?
Even though there is snow on the ground, you might want to start thinking about what you’ll be doing in the summer. Well, if you are planning to be chief tater tot fry cook at your local Sonic, then you’ve got plenty of time. But if you’d like to get paid to do cutting edge research in math, physics, biology, engineering, computer science, …., then now is the time to get moving.
There are literally hundreds of programs around the country. We’ve already mentioned a few: like this one. The biggest bunch are the REUs (Research Experience for Undergraduates). These are programs funded by the National Science Foundation (aka the government).
To give you an idea, here are the places which had an REU in 2009:
P.S. There are ones in Hawaii and the Arctic, too!
The right question to ask yourself is “How to I get one of these sweet gigs?” The answer is simple. Follow these easy steps:
- Go to the OU Math Department’s page on REUs. This has lots of good informaton, including some excellent advice on how to go about applying.
- Go to the NSF master list of REUs for 2010. You can search for REUs by location and area of research. It also provides links to the programs so you can learn more details about what exactly they will be doing for research.
- Important! There is lots of interesting REUs beyond math. It is well worth applying to other REUs if they look interesting (your intrepid correspondent did a mechanical engineering REU!).
- There are also other REU-type programs which are not on this list. The OU webpage lists several and no doubt you can google others.
- Don’t delay! Although the deadlines are still weeks away, it takes quite awhile to get everything put together and you don’t want to rush it. Plus, you usually need letters of recommendation from professors and nothing annoys letter writers like short deadlines (and you don’t want annoyed recommendation writers!)