Thursday, November 29, 2001

 7:30 p.m.
Science B 135

Michael E. Moody
Diana and Kenneth Jonsson Professor of Mathematics
Harvey Mudd College

"An ODE to Toys:
Motivating Mathematics with
Physical Models and Demonstrations”
Many mathematical concepts and applications can be illustrated or motivated using physical models.  We will explore some interesting examples using ropes, chains, tuning forks, chemical reactions, pendulums, and other devices.  These toys will motivate a discussion of problems from physics, chemistry and engineering and their mathematical analysis.  We will also gain new insights into the airport security screening process.

Special Mathematics Colloquium

" To Lay or Not to Lay:  A Model for Insect Oviposition Strategies"

Thursday, November 29, 2001
4:00 p.m.
Natural Resources 101
Pre-colloquium tea and reception at 3:30 outside Library 56.

Most animals move about their environment in search of food, shelter and mates.  These activities and behavior represent "investments" of time and energy.  The returns for such an investment, such as food and reproductive success, are vital in the success of the individual and the species.  An important question that arises in the study of animal behavior is the following:  Are there "optimal" strategies that individuals can pursue that will improve the benefits that result from a given investment?  In addition, is there evidence that animals actually pursue optimal strategies?  In this talk, we will examine a (relatively simple) mathematical model for how certain insects "ought" to distribute the eggs they lay.  The predictions of the model will be compared to data from natural populations of the moth Greya subalba.   The mathematical results will shed new meaning on the old saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

Dr. Moody is currently Chair of the Department of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. He received his B.A. degree from the University of California at San Diego in 1975, with a double major in Mathematics and Chemical Physics, and a double minor in History and Philosophy.  Pursuing an interest in biological systems at the University of Chicago, he finished an applied mathematics thesis in population genetics in 1979.

Following graduate school, he spent two years as a USPHS post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  In 1981 he joined the faculty at Washington State University, with a joint appointment between the Department of Pure and Applied Mathematics and the Department of Genetics and Cell Biology.  He had a Fulbright Fellowship for research to the Institute for Mathematics at the University of Vienna 1990-91.

In 1994 Dr. Moody moved to Harvey Mudd College as the Diana and Kenneth Jonsson Professor of Mathematics and mathematics
department chair.

Dr. Moody's research in biomathematics focuses on genetic models for evolving populations. His developmental work in teaching is concentrated on designing and implementing curricular models and technological tools to improve mathematics education for engineers
and scientists. Dr. Moody was co-designer and developer of the award-winning multi-media ODEArchitect software program for teaching
and solving ordinary differential equations. He has also published two books for integrating technology into the calculus curriculum through laboratory experiments. All of this work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.  He has given numerous talks and workshops at national meetings on these topics.