Math/CS 299/399 Colloquium in Mathematics & Computer Science I & II Fall 2014  

Colloquium Speaker Reviews


Your weekly assignment will consist of reviewing each speaker. These summaries will have several components (see grading rubric below):

  1. Title Section (required): This includes a title of your paper, your name, and the date of the talk or when you wrote the summary. A title such as "A review of the talk by David Reimann" or "A review of the talk on tessellations of the plane by David Reimann" is a reasonable title. Your title you contain the speaker's name and possibly a shortened version of the speaker's talk title.
  2. Talk Summary (required): The talk summary will provide an overview of the content of the speaker's talk, including any ideas or concepts you found interesting. It should have four paragraphs as follows:
    1. A paragraph summarizing the speaker's background and content of the talk. This information is available from the talk abstract and the student introduction. Provide a bibliographic citation for the talk in this paragraph.
    2. Three paragraphs, each containing an important topic from the talk. Some talks may require you to look up information about the topic. One great source for information on mathematical topics is MathWorld. Wikipedia also contains many good articles about mathematical topics, but should not be considered the definitie answer on a topic; you should use the peer-reviewed sources listed for such answers. Professors can also help clarify the content of the talk, so ask us if you need additional information.
  3. Question and Answer (Extra Credit): Following the talk, protocol allows a brief question and answer period. If you ask the speaker a question following the talk, you can earn extra credit by writing a paragraph on the question you asked and the speaker's response. Asking good questions may require you to do a littel reading about the topic before the talk. Many topics can be studied with on-line resources and from books in the department. You can also ask one of your professors about the topic. Questions can range from clarification of expansion of technical points to asking a speaker about the motivation behind their work, graduate school oportunities at their institution, or for general academic advice. Students instroducing a speaker can also earn credit for this without writing an entire review.
  4. Worked problems (Extra Credit): If the speaker provided additional exploration problems, you can earn some extra credit by providing a solution (in LaTeX) as a part of your review.
  5. Personal Response (required): Write a paragraph containing your personal response. It will provide your personal reflection of the speaker, including your attitudes toward the speaker and the material presented. Consider the following questions as you formulate your writing:
    • Why was this talk interesting to you?
    • What ideas from the talk can be used in your current or future courses?
    • What new knowledge did you gain?
    • What existing knowledge did you apply in a new way?
    • What, if any, information was missing from the talk?
    • Did the talk inspire you to investigate the subject or related subjects in more detail?
    • Could you envision yourself doing a FURSCA project, independent study, or REU on the subject?
    • Were there any ethical or philosophical issues raised?
  6. Bring a friend (Extra Credit): Include a one sentence paragraph in your personal response with the name of your friend and if they liked the talk. For example, "I brought my friend Leonardo da Vinci to colloquium this week and he enjoyed the talk."
  7. Bibliography (required): A BibTeX format bibliography containing at least the citation for the talk.

Summaries will be due at the next regularly scheduled class meeting time unless otherwise specified. You must submit a paper hardcopy of your response, email is not acceptable.

Good communication is a vital part of any profession. One goal of this course is to help instruct you on how to effectively communicate as a mathematics or computer science professional. Your written summaries can form the basis of a portfolio that can be used by you to demonstrate to others (future employers, etc) your ability to communicate. Take these writing assignments seriously! Spell check your work. Take the time to correct any issues you have once the marked papers are returned to you.

Your review must be written in LaTeX, which is the standard for professional communication in both mathemtics and computer science. Many of our speakers will have prepared their talks using LaTeX! Each week you must demonstrate your skill at using several features of LaTeX to produce some interesting formulae, set of symbols, or other material related to the talk. You should use this as an opportunity to learn more about using LaTeX. LaTeX is a superset of TeX and both use a nearly identical syntax. LaTeX is available in the Sleight (Palenske 231) and Putnam 251 computer labs via MikTeX. LaTeX is freely available for linux, mac, and windows, so go ahead and get your own copy! More information is available on the main course page.

First, download and save the following files:

  1. Gauss.tex
  2. colloquium.bib
  3. Gauss.jpg
  4. albion.bst
These will produce Gauss.pdf.

Mathematica can produce TeX/LaTeX code that can be placed inside mathematical mode in your TeX/LaTeX file. You can use the TeXForm function to do this conversion. This is particularly useful when producing a TeX/LaTeX document using results obtained from Mathematica.

The Albion Math/CS Colloquium Schedule page contains links to the BibTeX citations for each of the talks this semester, which can be placed into your .bib file and cited. Google Scholar has an option to provide BibTeX formats for citations by setting this option in the Google Scholar Preferences. Once a search is complete, you can click on the "Import inot BibTeX" link which will display a BibTeX entry that can be included in your .bib file. Because these citations are automatically created, sometimes these citations may need a little editing to provide a correct form.

Grading Rubric

Comments Possible
Basic overview, speaker information.
This should be a single paragraph several sentences.
clear and interesting review of material presented, description of interesting concepts and ideas, importance/significance of talk material is presented, demonstrated knowledge of subject, no omissions of important concepts, no factual errors, no padding with tangential material
This should be 3 paragraphs between 100 and 400 words.
Personal Response
your attitudes of the speaker's talk
This should be one paragraph between 50 and 200 words.
Structure, Language, Grammar, and Mechanics
well organized, appropriate style, fun to read, good flow and trajectory, good balance of presentation, smooth transitions.
Good word choice, correct audience, proper tone, active voice, vibrant language, lack of redundancies, no slang, precise.
Grammatically correct, no punctuation errors, sentences match in subject and verb, no run-on sentences, paragraphs well constructed.
No typos, no misspellings, no capitalization errors, sources are properly cited, double spaced, proper margins, appropriate length, appropriate font, no other oddities
Use of LaTeX
Proper and sufficient use of LaTeX.
BibTeX Citation
Proper use of BibTeX in citing talk and reference formatting.
Bring a Friend
You can earn extra credit by bringing a friend and writing about it.
  2 (semi-optional)  
Speaker Question and Answer
You can earn extra credit by asking the speaker about the content of the talk and writing a paragraph containing the question you posed and a summary of the answer (at most one per speaker). Points awarded will be based on the the depth of the question and your ability to write about your dialog with the speaker in a clear and concise manner.
This should be between 50 and 100 words.
  2 (semi-optional)  
Solutions to posed problems
You can earn extra credit by solving one or more problems posed by the speaker. The solution must be provideed in writing using LaTeX. Points awarded will be based on the the hardness of the problem, the quality of your solution, and your ability to present it in a clear and concise manner.
  0-4 (optional)  
Total Points   12-20  

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