Department of Mathematics

West Chester University

Mathematics Information
Office: Room 101
25 University Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone (610) 436-2440
Fax (610) 738-0578
Email: Department Chair

Spring 2016 Colloquium/Seminar Schedule

Colloquium talks will normally be on a Wednesday (usually in UNA 158 from 3:15-4:15).

These seminars/colloquium talks may be by visiting speakers, WCU faculty, or WCU students, and are open to all interested students and faculty.

Send an e-mail to, if you would like to be on the e-mail list to receive advance notice of upcoming talks.

Previous Semesters: Fall 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2010, Spring 2010, Fall 2009, Spring 2009, Fall 2008, Spring 2008, Fall 2007, Spring 2007, Fall 2006, Summer 2006, Spring 2006.





University of Maryland





Cannonballs, Donuts, and Secrets: An Introduction to elliptic curve cryptography

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from 3:20 to 4:15PM

UNA 161

Elliptic curves have been around for centuries, but recently they have become very important in cryptography. I’ll start with a light introduction to elliptic curves and then discuss some recent cryptographic applications.


Larry Washington is a professor of Mathematics at the University of Maryland in College Park. He earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University under the supervision of Kenkichi Iwasawa. He has published over 50 research papers and has supervised 25 Ph.D. students. He is the author or coauthor of the following books: Cyclotomic Fields, Elliptic Curves - Number Theory and Cryptography, An Introduction to Number Theory with Cryptography (with James S. Kraft), Introduction to Cryptography with Coding Theory (with Wade Trappe), and Elementary Number Theory (with James S. Kraft).



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University of Richmond




Which graphs are coloring graphs?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 from 3:15 to 4:15PM

UNA 158

For a simple graph G and a positive integer k, the k-coloring graph of G, denoted Ck(G), is the graph whose vertex set is the set of all proper (vertex) k-colorings of G with two k- colorings adjacent if and only if they differ at exactly one vertex of G. In this talk, we consider the question: Which graphs are coloring graphs? We give examples of families of graphs whose members are always, sometimes, and never coloring graphs and discuss techniques useful for investigating this inverse problem. No prior knowledge of graphs is necessary. We will begin with the definition of a graph and give lots of examples along the way! (This is joint work with Julie Beier (Earlham College), Janet Fierson (LaSalle University), Ruth Haas (Smith College), and Kara Shavo (Presbyterian College).)


Dr. Heather M. Russell attended Washington College in Chestertown, MD for her undergraduate work and received degrees in both math and computer science in 2003. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics from The University of Iowa in 2009. She completed two two-year post-doctoral positions at Louisiana State University and University of Southern California before returning to her undergraduate alma mater to teach  as an assistant professor for two years. She is now in her second semester as assistant professor at University of Richmond and very much looking forward to breaking the pattern of moving every two years! Her work focuses on knot theory and its connections to graph theory and combinatorial representation  theory. She is also very interested in promoting undergraduate research in mathematics and broadening participation in STEM fields.  In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, traveling, and seeing live music.




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West Chester University

Spring 2016 Mathematics Colloquium


janet caldwell

Rowan University




Concepts, Skills, and Problem Solving: Ways to Do It All

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 from 3:20 to 4:15PM

UNA 162

The demands for raising student achievement ask teachers to “do it all” – teach more math to more students in more depth with more rigor using more technology. Learn about ways to incorporate the development of conceptual understanding, computational and procedural skills, and problem solving to help students learn more. Examples will be drawn from a variety of topic areas in grades 6-12.

Dr. Janet Caldwell received her bachelor’s degree cum laude from Rice University, earning a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.  Janet began her career as a secondary mathematics teacher in Texas and Pennsylvania, followed by five years at Research for Better Schools in Philadelphia before coming to Glassboro State College in the fall of 1983. Dr. Caldwell has been an active leader in mathematics education statewide, regionally, and nationally in leadership roles of several different organizations. As the founder and director of the South Jersey Mathematics, Computer, and Science Instructional Improvement Program, Dr. Caldwell has received approximately $11,000,000 in grants to provide professional Statewide Systemic Initiative Regional Center at Rowan; an NSF Math Science Partnership project with Bridgeton, Millville, Vineland, and Toms River; Project SMART with Camden, Gloucester City, and Pennsauken; and the IMPACT project with Millville and Pennsauken. Among many research publications, Dr. Caldwell recently wrote three books for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics on developing understanding of elementary arithmetic and is an author for Pearson’s elementary mathematics textbooks, enVisionMATH.  The Carnegie Foundation selected Dr. Caldwell as the NJ Professor of the Year in 1994 and she received the Distinguished Teaching Award for the NJ Section of the Mathematical Association of America in 2000.  She was honored with the Max Sobel Outstanding Mathematics Educator Award in 1994 by the Association of Mathematics Teachers of NJ and by the NJ Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development with the Ernest Boyer Outstanding Educator Award in 2004.Kraft).

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Princeton University



If You Can Specify It, You Can Analyze It” -- The Lasting Legacy of Philippe Flajolet

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 from 3:15 to 4:15PM

UNA 161


The "Flajolet School" of the analysis of algorithms and combinatorial structures is centered on an effective calculus, known as analytic combinatorics, for the development of mathematical models that are sufficiently accurate and precise that they can be validated through scientific experimentation. It is based  on  the  generating function as the central object of study, first as a formal object that can translate a specification into mathematical equations, then as an analytic object whose properties as a function in the complex plane yield   the desired quantitative results. Universal laws of sweeping generality can be proven within the framework, and easily applied. Standing on the shoulders of Cauchy, Polya, de Bruijn, Knuth, and many others, Philippe Flajolet and scores of collaborators developed this theory and demonstrated its effectiveness in a broad range of  scientific applications. Flajolet's legacy is a vibrant field of research that holds the key not just to understanding the properties of algorithms and data structures, but also to understanding the properties of discrete structures that arise as models in all fields of science. This talk will survey Flajolet's story and its implications for future research.

Robert Sedgewick is the founding chair and the William O. Baker Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton. Prof. Sedgewick's research interests revolve around algorithm design, including mathematical techniques for the analysis of algorithms. He has published widely in these areas and is the author of seventeen books, including a well-known series of textbooks on algorithms that have been best-sellers for decades. Besides "Algorithms, Fourth Edition (with K.  Wayne) his other recently published books are “Computer Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach" (with K. Wayne) and "Analytic Combinatorics" (with P. Flajolet). With Kevin Wayne, he is currently actively engaged in developing web content and online courses that have reached over one million people.


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"The Postage Stamp Problem" Revisited


Celebrating Professor Joe Moser’s 50 Years at West Chester


Dr. Lin Tan


Thursday, May 5, 2016 

4:00 – 4:45 p.m. 

Philips Autograph Library


We will take another look at the Postage Stamp Problem in elementary number theory. Instead of the congruence argument, we present a Pickture method, using a graph method so answers to many questions can be seen immediately through the graph. Interesting connections to the cyclotomic polynomials (in abstract algebra) and q-series will be provided, together with the generating function for the problem.

The presentation is totally accessible to undergraduate math students.


Refreshments to follow


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Note: Talks will be added to the schedule throughout the semester. Check back for updates.