University of Kentucky Undergraduate Math Club

University of Kentucky Undergraduate Math Club

Most Thursdays at 5pm in POT 745 - with free pizza!

Welcome to the University of Kentucky Department of Mathematics' Undergraduate Student Organization. The Math Club is open to all undergraduate students with an interest in mathematics. The Math Club holds several meetings a semester which may feature a talk on an interesting piece of mathematics, information about opportunities for mathematics students during the summer or career information.

The UK Math Club thanks the JC Eaves Undergraduate Excellence Fund for its continued patronage to activities.

Students who are interested in organizing additional activities should contact Postdoctoral Scholars Peter Bonventre (, Nathan Fieldsteel ( or the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Alberto Corso (

Upcoming and Recent Events:

January 25 Dr. Dave Jensen University of Kentucky
Filters and Social Choice

When a large group of people have to make a decision together, bad things can happen. For example, suppose that 10 people are trying to decide where to go to dinner together. Suppose that 4 of them want to go to Mellow Mushroom, and the remaining 6 realize that Mellow Mushroom is horrible and disgusting, and would prefer to go to literally any other restaurant. If the remaining 6 are divided between 3 or 4 different restaurants, a strict plurality system will force them to go to Mellow Mushroom, even though a majority would prefer any other choice.

It seems, then, that the plurality system is unfair. What could we do to make it fair? Which election systems are the most fair? What does "fair" mean anyway? Come and find out!

Also, I will give you candy.

February 8 Dr. Hunter Moseley UK Medical Center
Computational and Mathematical Methods in Real Life Problems
February 22 Dr. Erin Abouzaid Director, Office of the CIO at Hutchin Hill Capital
Room: BE 271 Careers in Mathematical Finance

Dr. Abouzaid will discuss career paths for students interested in mathematics and finance drawing on her own experience going from a BS in math and physics and a PhD in experimental high energy physics to jobs at a custodial bank, a university endowment, and a hedge fund. From the perspective of an employer, she will describe the skills that are valued in the finane industry, ranging from those that are purely technical and quantitative to those involving communication skills.

Presented with the Gatton College of Business and Economics and the Mathematical Economics Program.

March 1 Dr. Joseph Fehribach Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Kirchhoff Graphs and Chemistry

How can someone graphically display a network of chemical reactions? One answer is a Kirchhoff graph. Kirchhoff graphs can be used as circuit diagrams for chemical reaction networks. This talk will explain how this is done, as well as discussing the basic mathematical properties of Kirchhoff graphs. It should be accessible to students currently taking second-year undergrad mathematics courses; no particular background in chemistry is assumed. The last 10-15 minutes of the talk will discuss the WPI graduate mathematical sciences programs.

March 22 Registration Social
More Details TBD.
March 29 Eaves's Lecture: Dr. Francis Su Harvey Mudd College
Room: CB110 Mathematics for Human Flourishing

Why does the practice of mathematics often fall short of our ideals and hopes? How can deeply human themes motivate our students to do and study mathematics? I have been advancing the message that mathematics help people flourish, no matter what they choose to do with their lives or careers. I will explain why I believe this is an important message, especially for educators, and describe some of the reactions I've received.

April 11 Game Night with Dr. Michael Hill UCLA
Co-sponsored with AWM. More details TBD.
Early April Students in the Geometry Lab
More details TBD.
September 7 Welcome Back Meeting
September 14 Jonathan Rubin University of Chicago
Counting Past Infinity or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Cantor's Paradise

We've all seen how to do induction and recursion up the natural numbers. But what if we could keep going? I'm going to give a light introduction to ordinals and cardinals, and then I'll discuss some neat applications with whatever time remains. Did you know that there is a subset of the plane that intersects every line in exactly two points? Or that three-dimensional Euclidean space can be decomposed as a disjoint union of radius one circles? Come find out why!

October 5 Rob Denomme University of Kentucky
Walk the Dog

In the geometry of solids, we often measure the volume, a 3-dimensional concept, and surface area, a 2-dimensional concept. We will talk about a lesser-known 1-dimensional measurement with the help of our faithful dog Fido. We will use this measurement to show that the Russian system of shipping boxes cannot be cheated!

October 25 Undergraduate REU Talks

Three current undergraduates, Neelav Dutta, Erin Wood, and Emily Dautenhahn, talk about their REU experiences and their work they did over the summer.

November 2 Graduate Student Panel

Join us while the Graduate School and REU Panel talks and answers questions about applying for these programs, and what the experience is like.

November 9 Informal Advising Meeting,
Ice Cream Social

This meeting will be an informal advising meeting, where you are welcome to come mingle with professors and ask them about potential classes, the math major, and just math in general. This won't be a panel or presentation session, just a casual gathering to talk about math.

After, the AWM is sponsoring an undergraduate boardgame/craft night in the Mathskellar.

November 16 Dr. Gabe Angelini-Knoll Michigan State
The Hopf map in classical mechanics

In classical mechanics, we may study the movement of an object using a differential equation. As an example, consider a spherical pendulum swinging from a string. The pendulum will carve out circles with each orbit and this can be described using the phase curves of the differential equation. If we assign a point to each phase curve then we can define a map, which can be extended to a map from a three dimensional sphere to a two dimensional sphere. Surprisingly, this map is exactly the Hopf map, which is very important to algebraic topologists because it is an example of a map between different dimensional spheres that cannot be contracted to a point. My talk will explore this surprising connection between classical mechanics and algebraic topology.

November 30 Dr. Chistopher Manon University of Kentucky
The Geometry Lab

Come to this math club meeting so I can tell you about the undergraduate experimental mathematics lab I'm starting next semester! I'd like you to have the opportunity to participate in research, and also help to create visualizations of mathematical objects. I'll show you some things I did at a previous lab, and tell you about some of the activities we'll have here at UK.

For an archive of previous Math Club activity, please click here.

Upcoming External Events:

Spring 2018

April 6-7 2018 KYMAA Annual Meeting Western Kentucky University

The Kentucky Section of the Mathematical Association of America (KYMAA) is devoted to promoting and encouraging the study, the teaching, and the learning of mathematics in the state of Kentucky. You can make a tax deductable donation to the KYMAA using the donation button below.

The invited speakers for this year's meeting are Susan Jane Colley (Oberlin College; editor of The American Mathematical Monthly) Counting Curves: Tales from the Enumerative Crypt, Paul Pollack (University of Georgia) and Steve Wilkinson (Northern Kentucky University; winner of the 2017 KYMAA Distinguished Teaching Award) What Do Mathematicians Do? (How I learned to appreciate matrix decomposition).

Useful Links:


The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) is the world's largest community of mathematicians, students, and enthusiasts. We further the understanding of our world through mathematics because mathematics drives society and shapes our lives. The mission of the MAA is to advance the understanding of mathematics, and its impact on the world.


The American Mathematical Society (AMS) The AMS, founded in 1888 to further the interests of mathematical research and scholarship, serves the national and international community through its publications, meetings, advocacy and other programs, which promote mathematical research, its communication and uses; encourage and promote the transmission of mathematical understanding and skills; support mathematical education at all levels; advance the status of the profession of mathematics, encouraging and facilitating full participation of all individuals; and foster an awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connections to other disciplines and everyday life.


The purpose of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) is to encourage women and girls to study and to have active careers in the mathematical sciences, and to promote equal opportunity and the equal treatment of women and girls in the mathematical sciences.

UKY has its own Student Cahpter of the AWM. See there for more information.

Pi Mu Epsilon

Pi Mu Epsilon is the Mathematics Honors Society, and is dedicated to the promotion of mathematics and recognition of students who successfully pursue mathematical understanding.


An Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel.

More information and lists of current programs can be found on the NSF page, AMS page, or this google site.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education. NSF especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, veterans, and undergraduate seniors to apply.

Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate. By providing scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, the Goldwater Foundation is helping ensure that the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the Nation needs in these critical fields.


The UK Student Government Association offers many opportunities for additional funding. See the link for more details.


The National Security Agency (NSA) offers students a wide variety of excellent programs to jumpstart a career in intelligence. See here for more information.

Corrections to: Ryan Welleford, Math Club Leadership Team,