Professional Notes: January 2009

Ron Brzenk, Professor of Mathematics, attended the Joint Mathematics Meeting of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America in Washington, DC from January 5-8, 2009. Brzenk presented two papers at the meeting. One paper was titled "Using Interactive Pedagogies to Teach Operations Research and Mathematical Modeling." The second presentation was "Outcomes Based Assessment of Student Learning in Mathematics."

Assistant Professor of History Vicki Howard addressed the 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association on January 5 in New York City. Her talk was titled "Finding Cultural History in Business History Archives." In addition, Howard's article "The Rise and Fall of Rudge & Guenzel: From Independent Retailer to Department Store Chain, 1886-1941" will be featured in the forthcoming Autumn 2008 issue of Nebraska History.

Associate Professor of History Sean Kelly Presented a paper titled "Race and African Ethnicity in the Slave Trading Correspondence of Henry Laurens" at "Commemorating the Abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade,” a conference hosted by the Institute for the Study of the Carolina Lowcountry and the Atlantic World, Charleston in March 2008. He also Presented a paper titled "Panyarring and Palaver: Violence and the Slave Trade at Sierra Leone in the Eighteenth Century" at a conference titled "Rebuilding Civil Society in Sierra Leone" at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull, UK on September 24, 2008, and Published an article titled "Blackbirders and Bozales: African-born Slaves on the Lower Brazos River of Texas in the Nineteenth Century", in the December 2008 issue of Civil War History. Kelly also Presented Research on the Slave Trade to South Carolina at the annual meeting of the American Antiquarian Society, October 2008.

A number of Associate Professor of Philosophy Stefanie Rocknak's students and alumni have presented or published papers recently. Among them is Peter Res '08, who presented "Who's Talking about Bats: Pitfalls of Subjectivity in Thomas Nagel's 'What is it like to be a Bat?'" at the First Annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at the University of North Dakota, the 12th Annual SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, and the The New England Undergraduate Philosophy Conference (Providence College). Res published the paper in Dialogue, the Journal of Phi Sigma Tau, Vol 50 #1 (2007) 22-27. Similarly, Josh Simmonds '08 presented "Freedom, Morality and Law: Freedom as Goodness" at the First Annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at the University of North Dakota.

Professor of Art Terry Slade is one third of a three-person exhibition titled "Then and Now." The show is on display through February 7 at the Albany Center Gallery at 39 Columbia Street in downtown Albany, NY. The other artists involved include printmaker Channing Lefebvre and woodworker Peter Leue. The mission of the Albany Center Gallery is to promote and exhibit contemporary visual art produced by emerging and established artists living primarily in the Capital Region. The gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.

Gary Stevens, Professor of Mathematics, has had his article THE BISHOP'S TALE: A COMBINATORIAL PROOF OF Fn2 = 2(Fn-12 + Fn-22) - Fn-32published by the Fibonacci Association in the just published edition of The Fibonacci Quarterly. Stevens' paper provides a combinatorial proof of the equality. A combinatorial proof is one in which the same thing is counted in two different ways. The results of the two countings have to be equal. The quantity Stevens counts is the number of ways to place "non-attacking" bishops on a 2 x n chessboard--a board that is two squares high and n squares long. One way of counting involves developing a recursion for the number of ways--a formula that expresses the number of ways to place the bishops on a board of length n in terms of the number of ways to place them on shorter boards. The other way of counting is more direct and easily results in a Fibonacci number. Equating the proper pieces gives the Fibonacci identity.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Jeremy Wisnewski has recently been published in two journals. His article "Mourning My Future Death: Finitude, Love and Self-Deception" appears in the Fall 2008 issue of Philosophy in the Contemporary World. In Polisi (The Journal of the Society for Greek Political Thought) (Vol. 25, No. 2), Wisknewski's "Ergon and logistikon in Republic" is featured.