|Well, they're paid to be
mathematicians and not comedians. But it would seem someone is earning
his or her money, because the fact is that math majors at ASU now
number 450, up from 350 just two years ago.
And the department is hosting the first-ever Arizona Mathematics
Undergraduate Conference (AMUC) Friday through Sunday, with 120
students coming from throughout the West. The public is welcome.
Department head Andrew Bremner largely credits Glenn Hurlbert,
undergraduate studies associate chairman, for making ASU a place where
math majors want to be.
Hurlbert recruits from area high schools and lower-level ASU classes as
well as providing math-related social activities for math majors,
"To like math is a little strange to many people, even at universities,
and math majors tend to feel isolated," Bremner said. "Glenn recognizes
that and has brought like-minded people together as undergraduates, and
for that matter, at this conference. He has been a driving force behind
our enrollment and putting on the conference."
Hurlbert said he has tried to build a relationship with area high school math departments.
"I communicate with them regularly, but I also get around to our own
classes and see who we can turn into math majors," he said. "We show
them that there are good careers in mathematics, and the salaries can
He is using ASU undergraduates to help him put on the conference --
students like Troy Tingey, 23, and Jonathan Winkler, 22, both of Tempe.
Both have spent scores of hours communicating with math departments
throughout the West, scheduling presentations and planning social
events. Winkler will also be making a presentation at the conference,
discussing mathematical models of growth in cancer cells.
Hurlbert said presenters will represent industry and academia.
"We'll have ... people from Lockheed Martin, General Motors and the
National Security Agency, some of the largest employers of
mathematicians on the planet," he said. "Students will give oral
presentations on their mathematics research, and we hope they'll get to
know each other and make contacts for graduate school and industry."
Information on the conference: http://math.asu.edu/amuc04.