Math Colloquium Information

Mathematics & Statistics Department


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Students in Classroom Lecture

Every other Thursday, we offer a math colloquia or seminar from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. It is open to anyone interested in attending, but especially designed for math majors. Math 3941 is a one-credit course and is required for math majors. The credit is earned by attending the colloquia.

Colloquium for Class

The talks are aimed at lower level math majors. They are given by professors from UMD, professors from other universities, and UMD math graduate and undergraduate students.

Occasionally we have speakers from business or industry (usually former UMD math majors) that tell us how they use math in their job, how they got their job and what kind of projects they do. An announcement about each talk is sent to students about a week in advance. 

Math 3941 has many goals. By attending a large number of colloquia, you can become familiar with a wide range of mathematical topics you may not otherwise encounter. And by submitting written reports, you improve your ability to write about mathematics. By listening to the speakers, you can learn about the kinds of work available to UMD graduates with math degrees.

Class Details and Course Registration

  • To graduate, you must register for Math 3941 and complete the 16 points required to pass this course.
  • The 16 points are earned by attending colloquia (1 point each), by attending and submitting an acceptable report (2 points) or by presenting a colloquium (up to 4 points). At least four points total must be earned for written submissions. There is a sign up sheet at the talk. As an example, you can complete the requirements by attending ten talks and writing reports on six.
  • You can start accumulating points at any time even though you may not officially register for the course until your senior year. We keep track of your points on Moodle as you earn them. In fact, most people earn their points over two years. It is difficult to earn 16 points in one year. You should attend every colloquium that seems interesting to you. That way you won't be caught short of points your last semester at UMD.
  • Registration into Math 3941 should be done no later than during your last semester.

Report Pointers

  • Make certain that your name, ID number and e-mail address are on the first page of your report and that the speaker/topic is identified.
  • Write your own report. Write in complete sentences. Keep your sentences short. Write more than one draft.
  • Keep a copy of your reports in case there is a discrepancy between our records and yours. Here is a link to past colloquia for reference purposes.
  • Reports are due within four weeks of the colloquium. There is no specific length requirement but reports are expected to have a significant intellectual content and it is rare that this can be done in as little as one page.
  • Your report should include your mathematical reaction to talks. While you might have to include a few sentences of reportage to "set the scene," your main task is to show what you thought about the talk as well as listened to it. It isn't essential that you understand everything speakers say in order to demonstrate that you were listening and thinking, but if an entire colloquium goes over your head you shouldn't attempt to report on it.
  • There are many ways to show you listened critically to a mathematical talk. For example, if the speaker discusses techniques, algorithms or theorems that are new to you, demonstrate that you understand them by working through an example that is different in some respect from the ones presented during the talk. Alternatively, if the speaker suggests things for the audience to try, try them and make a discussion of your efforts the centerpiece of your report. Even better than the foregoing suggestion, if a colloquium stimulates you to pose new mathematical questions, a discussion of them is appropriate.
  • Sample Reports
  • Submit reports to the course instructor Joe Gallian via email at jgallian@d.umn.edu.