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Colloquium - Benjamin R Morin, Arizona State University

Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Time: 4:45PM

Location: Rockefeller Hall 310

Title: Models & Make-Up; The Case of College Algebra, Communicable Diseases and Population Ecology

AbstractFor this talk I convey how mathematical modeling of biological sys- tems may be readily accessible to mathy and non-mathy students alike in a “day-one” sense. I start off with an admittedly-dry College Algebra- style question. Using this as a conceptual foundation, we switch gears to consider an epidemiological phenomena using a version of the scientific method that I call the “Applied Mathematical Method”: Observe, Ab- stract, Analyze, and Interpret. Specifically, a simple model will be used to highlight the effect that human behavior has on the spread of infectious disease. Indeed, the previously dry (and possibly unmotivating) College Algebra problem from the beginning of the talk gives us the answers we seek. As an additional example we consideran ecological model of a species growing along side a resource of limited availability (food, space, water, etc...). Again, the College Algebra problem provides the answers, and thus gives rise to the thesis that mathematical constructs, with the correct sort of “make-up” may be used model a wide variety of biological problems. Furthermore, with sufficient grasp of the science studied, specific ques- tions may be addressed across a wide variety of levels of mathematical sophistication. 


Tea at 4:30 in RH305