8/27/2009 Math research to launch Linfield faculty lecture series
McMINNVILLE – A Linfield College mathematics professor will kick off this year’s faculty lecture series. Chuck Dunn, associate professor of mathematics, will present "Linfield College and the Willamette Valley Mathematics REU-RET" on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall at Linfield.
For the past two summers, Linfield has hosted 10 undergraduates from across the country and one local middle school teacher in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and a Research Experience for Teachers (RET). The program, called the Willamette Valley Mathematics REU-RET, has been run through funding from the National Science Foundation and the cooperation of four schools including Linfield, Lewis and Clark College, Willamette University and the University of Portland. The students, teachers and faculty mentors from the participating schools work in research groups on original mathematics for eight weeks each summer.
Dunn will discuss the program’s success, an overview of the funding process and the day-to-day process of working with students on original research. He will also present portions of the collaborative work, the majority of which is in the process of being prepared for submission to peer-reviewed mathematics journals.
At Linfield, Dunn and Jennifer Nordstrom, associate professor of mathematics, worked with six students and Erin Pitney, a local middle school teacher and 2003 Linfield graduate, on problems in an area of graph theory called competitive graph coloring. Their focus has been a two-person game in which two players, Alice and Bob, alternate coloring the vertices of a graph.
"Alice wants to ensure that the entire graph is colored, while Bob wants to thwart Alice’s plans," Dunn said. "In our research, we look for the least number of colors necessary to guarantee that no matter what Bob does, Alice can always make sure that the graph is colored."
Dunn, a member of the Linfield faculty since 2002, holds a bachelor’s degree from Lewis and Clark College, a master’s from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University.
The lecture is free and open to the public. The Linfield College faculty lecture series offers one presentation each month by a member of the Linfield faculty. For more information, call 503-883-2409.