Spring 2020
Date  Speaker  Title  Abstract 

January 27th  Jo Nelson Rice University 
Contact encounters in the third dimension  Contact geometry is the study of certain geometric structures on odd dimensional differentiable manifolds, which originated in classical mechanics. Manifolds generalize the notion of curves (1 dimensional) and surfaces (2 dimensional) to higher dimensions, though for this talk we will stick to dimension three. A contact structure is a two dimensional subspace which satisfies a maximum nondegeneracy condition which mandates that there be no two dimensional subsurface which is tangent to the contact structure. It also gives rise to a canonically defined vector field, called the Reeb vector field. I will give an introduction to three dimensional differential and contact geometry, primarily focusing on R3and S3as examples,with numerous pictures and animations. 
February 17th  Michael Norton KIPP Texas Public Schools 
Today's Student Experience in K12 Math Classrooms  I will discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by K12 math educators in 2020. There are many strategies, protocols, and products that are divined on paper as ideal pedagogical solutions, but then must come alive in a messy reality. Findout about the key components that make for great math teaching & learning, and discover and experience how practitioners both individual teachers & at those at various levels of the industry are creating today's student experience in light of (e.g.) the Common Core, the emergence of new digital tools, and the abundance of educational data 
Trinity University 

Texas A&M University 

Rice University 
Fall 2019
Date  Speaker  Title  Abstract 

Tuesday, September 3rd *Special day due to Labor Day holiday 
Robert Hardt Rice University 
EnergyMinimizing Unit Vector Fields in Three Space 
Given a smooth realvalued function g on the unit sphere S in R3, the function u on the closed unit ball B which coincides with g on S and has least energy∫𝐷𝑢2𝑑𝑥𝐵is a harmonic function. These show up in classical mathematics, physics, and many applications; e.g. u represents the longtime steadystate temperature distribution resulting from keeping the surface temperature equal to g. Later,many other interestingproblems required changing realvalued functions to unitvectorfields. This seemingly small change led to many new problems and results. We will look at some of the basic examples, questions and solutions including:

September 23rd  Siran Li Rice University 
The Many Facets of Harmonic Functions  In this talk, we shall describe harmonic functions on a domain in Rnfrom many different aspects the mean value properties, the PDEs (partial differential equations), the Newtonianpotential, and the probabilistic perspectives. The regularity theory of harmonic functions will be surveyed. Finally, we will discuss some recent constructions of ''weird'' spaces (manifolds) on which the regularity theory blatantly fails, in stark contrast to the Euclidean case. [Our talk is complimentary to Prof. Bob Hardt's talk at the beginning of the semester.] 
October 28th  Selim Sukhtaiev Rice University 
Anderson localization for disordered quantum graphs  Disorder is one of the central topics in modern science. In this talk, we will discuss a mathematical treatment of a particular disordered system modeling localization of waves in random media. The model in equation was introduced by P. W. Anderson in his Nobel prize winning work in physics which led to a rich mathematical theory of random Schrodinger operators. The present talk is devoted to a particular Anderson model arising in the study of quantum graphs. I will provide an elementary introduction to quantum graphs and mathematical theory of Anderson localization, which lies at the interface of dynamical systems, differential equations, and linear algebra. No previous knowledge of or familiarity with this subject will be assumed 
November 18th  Alan Reid Rice University 
Q&A for Math Majors and Minors with the Math Department Chair  Dr.Reid will begin by talking about some of his mathematical interests, his background, being chair of the department, and how this impacts the lives of undergraduate students. There will be a Q&A session to end the discussion 
Spring 2019
Date  Speaker  Title 

January 14th  Greg Chambers Rice University 
Constructing homotopies of low complexity 
February 18th  Jack Petok Rice University 
Densest Sphere Packings, Lattices, and Theta Functions 
March 25th  Daniel Hast Rice University 
The geometry of redistricting and gerrmandering 
April 8th  Jen Berg Rice University 
Rental Harmony or, How to use math to make your roommates envyfree 
Fall 2018
Date  Speaker  Title 

August 24th  Michael Wolf Rice University 
Geometric optimization: An exploration through soap films 
September 21st  Anastassia Etopolski Rice University 
The Congruent Number Problem and Elliptic Curves 
November 9th  Max Lieblich University of Washington 
Algebraic geometry in computer vision 
November 16th  Jacob Kesten and Sara EdelmanMuñoz Rice University 
What I did last summer 
Spring 2018
Date  Speaker  Title 
January 26th  Ronen Mukamel Rice University 
Billiards in Polygons 
February 23rd  Alan Haynes University of Houston 
Constructibility, Solvability, and Origami 
March 23rd  Casey Douglas St. Mary's College (MD) / Rice 
TBA 
Fall 2017
Date  Speaker  Title 
September 15th 
Anthony VárillyAlvarado Rice University 
Primes in arithmetic progressions 
September 29th  Changhui Tan Rice University 
The mathematics in continuum mechanics 
October 27th 
Arindam Roy Rice University 
Ford Circles 
November 10th  Ilya Marchenka '19 Anh Tran '19 Rice University 
What I Did Last Summer 
Spring 2017
Date  Speaker  Title 

January 20th  Stephen Wang Rice University 
Shape Shifting: Things you can and cannot do via cut and paste 
February 17th  Brian Miceli Trinity University 
Combinatorial Enumeration in Pascal's Triangle 
March 3rd  Betul OrcanEkmekci Rice University 
Beyond Classical Derivatives, Still Using Calculus 
March 24th  David Krcatovich Rice University 
Planning robot motion using configuration spaces 
April 7th  Neil Fullarton Rice University 
The lantern relation on a surface 
Fall 2016
Date  Speaker  Title 

August 26th  Frank Jones Rice University 
ABC's of the heat equation 
September 2nd  Kyle Kinneberg Rice University 
Conformal maps and circle packings 
September 14th (Wednesday at 4:30!)  An event with Google for math majors (room TBA)  
September 23th  Rice University 
Talk postponed until spring semester 
September 30th  Richard Shadrach Rice University 
Hamilton's quaternions and how to algebraically roll a ball 
October 21st  Vu Hoang Rice University 
Mathematics and Tightrope walking 
October 27th (Thursday!)  William Dunham Bryn Mawr College 
Euler in Two Acts 
November 4th  Zhenghe Zhang Rice University 
Stable and unstable dynamical behaviors in Hamiltonian systems 
November 18th  Jonathan Celaya '17 Konstantinos Varvarezos '16 Rice University 
What I Did Last Summer 