Fall 1994 Newsletter


Computer Lab Matching Grant Received

The Mathematics Department has received a $50,000 grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to help fund the purchase of equipment for the new mathematics computer lab. The Keck funds will match the $40,000 National Science Foundation grant the department received last year and will be used to complete the purchase of 12 Power Macintosh computers for student use that will be networked with new faculty computers, a UNIX work station and a Laserwriter printer. Other funds used to prepare and equip the lab include a $10,825 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arkansas and a personal gift of $3,000 from an anonymous 1970s mathematics alumnus.

Alumni Directory

An Alumni Directory containing information on the almost 300 mathematics majors will be available later this fall for a $5 donation to Pi Mu Epsilon. If you would like one, send $5 to Mathematics At Hendrix.

1994 Seniors

Front Row: Marla Eason, Kristin Allbright, Carissa Hurst

Back Row: Scott Wagner, Rob Bland, John Steward, Charlie Loften

Kristin Allbright's senior project was entitled Image Processing. Kristin is now working in the computer division at Wal-Mart in Bentonville.

Rob Bland's senior project was entitled Cryptography: The Art of Secret Writing. Rob is attending graduate school in computer science at Vanderbilt University.

Marla Eason's senior project was entitled Wavelets and Sparse Matrices. Marla is attending graduate school in mathematics at Oklahoma State University.

Carissa Hurst's senior project was entitled Permutations, Partitions and Tableaux with Schensted's Algorithm. Carissa is attending graduate school in mathematics at The University of Arkansas.

Charlie Loften's senior project was entitled Geometric Problems and Geometric Construction Problem-Solving Methods. Charlie is working with Student Mobilization, a nation wide campus ministry program headquartered in Arkansas. John Steward's senior project was entitled Diffusion and Chemical Communication. John is currently on a six month walk along the Appalachian Trail.

Eslinger Honored

Bob Eslinger will receive the MAA's 1994 Certificate of Meritorious Service. He was nominated by the Okla.-Ark. Section.

Kevin Hutson Studies Finite Groups

I recently participated at an NSF-REU site on Computational Group Theory at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology under the supervision of Dr. Gary Sherman. Along with five other students I worked with the computer algebra system CAYLEY to research specific open questions in group theory that Dr. Sherman believed would be suitable for the varied background of the students. The other five students, who represented Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Villanova and Carleton, and I split into groups and battled the problems that best suited our background. My partner and I worked on a problem that dealt with the random commutativity of triples in finite groups and completed a paper "Conjugacy Classes of Triple Products in Finite Groups." To complete the program we will give a talk on our paper at the joint mathematics meeting in San Francisco in early January. Kevin Hutson '95

Alumni Mathematics Symposium

An Alumni Mathematics Symposium celebrating twenty-five years of undergraduate research in mathematics at Hendrix College was held on April 15, 1994 during Alumni Weekend. The program included Invited Alumni Speaker Dr. Phillip Parker '69, Invited Faculty Speaker Dr. Cecil McDermott and seniors Marla Eason, Charlie Loften and Scott Wagner.

Dr. Phillip Parker '69

Dr. Parker participated in undergraduate research as a student and our formal undergraduate research program dates from his involvement. He received a Ph.D. in geometry from Oregon State University in 1977 and currently teaches at Wichita State University. He inaugurated The Phillip Parker Undergraduate Research Award in Mathematics which has been awarded annually since 1978 to a Hendrix mathematics student for excellence in undergraduate research. Dr. Parker entertained those attending with his recollections of Hendrix and mathematics twenty-five years ago.

Dr. Cecil McDermott

What has Dr. McDermott been doing lately? Dr. McDermott reports: "I have had three careers. First as the State Supervisor of K-12 Mathematics in Arkansas, then as Professor of Mathematics and AIC Faculty Representative at Hendrix College. Currently I am Program Director for the Arkansas Commission on Microcomputer Instruction. For ten years I worked side by side with Walter Smiley and Mack McLarty and on occasion Bill and Hillary. I now help direct a technology service company with a staff of thirty and an annual budget of $8,500,000. Our company, IMPAC Learning Systems, Inc., is currently involved in working through many of the telecommunications infrastructure issues for technology in Arkansas. Of course, Mack, Bill and Hillary have gone on to greater challenges. We are in most capable hands with Walter and his able administrative asistant, one of our own, Karen Shirley Campbell ['83]." We might add that Dr. McDermott has recently published a book of poetry about life in Conway and Faulkner County entitled Landmarks, Rudders and Crossroads.

Dr. McDermott also spoke about the history of the undergraduate research program and began his comments by saying, "There is a kind of spirit - I felt it then, I feel it this very day." He then read a poem he wrote for the occasion. He concluded with a special thank you to Tom and Nancy Fomby for initiating a scholarship in his honor at Hendrix and to everyone who has contribited to the scholarship fund.

Marla Eason '94 presents her senior project at the alumni conference.