Math Conference Ties Many Applications of This Science Together

math.jpgSonoma State Pi Mu Epsilon members know that there is more to mathematics than meets the eye. Mathematics permeates everyday life and is present in related fields from artificial intelligence and cancer diagnosis to examining DNA and speculating the possible shapes of the universe.

This National Mathematics Honor Society will host a day-long regional Math Conference on Friday, Sept. 21 from 10:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Cooperage.

"Applications of Mathematics" is the theme for the conference and is designed to spark interest in students from all majors who appreciate the way math is applied in their field of study.

Pi Mu Epsilon President Robin Decker said that a conference like this "creates a sense of community among students and faculty in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, which encourages students to pursue STEM majors and eventually STEM careers."

Dr. Michelle Norris of the CSU Sacramento Department of Mathematics and Statistics will give a presentation on diagnostic screening for disease, while Jeff Reich, an event donor and SSU alumni with an MA in Mathematics, will give a presentation on quantum mechanics; both presenters reinforcing the various applications of mathematics in different fields.

Michael Harris, a SSU student and Pi Mu Epsilon treasurer, will present on artificial intelligence and its applications in lung cancer diagnosis.

Pi Mu Epsilon has had an active chapter at Sonoma State University for several years. The purpose of the society is to promote scholarly activity in mathematics among students.

Math is used as a tool to help scientists and engineers solve problems and answer questions.

In physics and astronomy, it is used in mathematical modeling, while calculus and geometry can be used to describe the possible shapes of the universe.

Operations research can be used to determine the most efficient way to distribute a limited amount of resources in business and economics.

Knot theory can be used to study the way DNA folds and interacts with enzymes in the body, and how these interactions can lead to noticeable changes in the body in biology and chemistry-related fields.

In computer science, statistics, probability theory, mathematical logic and optimization can be used to design artificial intelligence that can make decisions that maximize the likelihood of success, when presented with multiple choices.

Because this is a regional conference, students from over thirty different scholarly institutions from all over the Bay Area have been invited to attend, including UC campuses, CSU campuses, private universities, and California Community Colleges.

The event includes information about Bay Area graduate schools, and time set aside for students to get to know their peers while enjoying a free pizza lunch.

This is Pi Mu Epsilon's first year conducting a mathematics conference and the organization hopes the event will be a success and an annual tradition will result from this initial conference.

Volunteers and student presenters are still needed. The event is free, and open to the community. To register, visit the website at

For more information e-mail Pi Mu Epsilon President, Robin Decker at or visit the event website at

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