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Linfield Mag 28 Fall 2014

Technology, Engineering and Math “It’s amazing to me that you can do this – use mathematics to take a real-world situation and understand how a terrorist organization evolves and works. I love it.” – Professor Stephen Bricher ’86 Fall 2013 l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e - 7 Mathematical look at terrorists Amanda Dorman ’14 spent her summer pondering terrorists – from a mathematical perspective. She and Stephen Bricher ’86, professor of mathematics, investigated the population dynamics of terrorist organizations, specifically Al-Qaeda. To answer their ultimate question – How to prevent terrorists from taking over the world? – Dorman examined recruitment rates of potential terrorists and martyrs and identified relevant questions that could motivate future research in the social sciences. As a math major and psychology minor, Dorman designed the project to meld her two interests. “The model is a four-dimensional system of nonlinear differential equations, which is crazy hard to analyze,” said Bricher, who recommended Dorman read published math papers and problems with similar models. “We started with a basic form


Linfield Mag 28 Fall 2014
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