Senior Seminar Information (Class of 2017)

For the 2016-2017 academic year, the senior seminar topics are Numerical Linear Algebra and Chaotic Dynamical Systems.

To ensure the senior seminar experience is an enriching experience it is necessary to keep class sizes relatively small and even. To help the department place students into seminars, each major who plans to take a senior seminar submits a proposal by the last day of classes of the winter semester of the junior year. Some details:

    • The proposal is a LaTeX document, a template, to be filled out carefully by the student.  The proposal should be approximately one page.  It should describe which senior seminar you prefer to take, and why.
    1. As a hypothetical example, here is a sample completed proposal in PDF format as Bernhard Riemann would have submitted it.
    • Juniors abroad during the winter semester who do not have access to LaTeX may submit a proposal created in Word or whatever software is available. The proposal must follow the format of the sample PDF document.
    • By the due date, the completed proposal is to be emailed as a PDF document to Laura Wardwell (, Academic Administrative Assistant for Hathorn Hall.
    • The PDF file should have a useful, descriptive name. Riemann would’ve named his “BernhardRiemannSeminarProposal.pdf”, for example.
    • It is a good idea for juniors to discuss the choice between thesis and seminar with faculty members before writing a proposal.
    • The Department meets to consider all thesis and seminar proposals. The Department Chair will notify students of the results of the meeting by the middle of the short-term.
    • The course descriptions for the Winter 2017 senior seminars are below.

MATH 495C. Numerical Linear Algebra (Professor Boateng)
This course is an introduction to numerical linear algebra, which is fundamental to scientific computing. Through guided and self-directed explorations, students examine direct and iterative solutions for linear systems problems including computation of eigenvalues and eigenvectors. The course focuses on both theoretical study of convergence of the numerical methods and practical implementations of these methods.
Tentatively scheduled: MWF 2:40-4:00 p.m.

MATH 495D. Chaotic Dynamical Systems (Professor Ross)
One of the major scientific accomplishments of the last twenty-five years was the discovery of chaos and the recognition that sensitive dependence on initial conditions is exhibited by so many natural and man-made processes. To really understand chaos, one needs to learn the mathematics behind it. This seminar considers mathematical models of real-world processes and studies how these models behave as they demonstrate chaos and its surprising order.
Tentatively scheduled: MWF 9:30-10:50 a.m.