Tag Archives: Mathematics

Relaxed atmoshpere

26 Feb

We have just returned from February Break. Personally, I spent mine relaxing and visiting my friends. It was a great time and I am thankful to have had the break, but I am also excited to be back at school with everyone. The nice thing about being back on campus and even being in classes is that the atmosphere, though serious, is relaxed. Every student works hard along with all the teachers and thanks to the honor system there is a huge amount of trust and a great relationship between the two. I was immediately reminded of this yesterday when my teacher taught us about Combinatorics (Math) with the aid of her dog. Yes, she gave her lecture while letting her dog roam the room. The feeling in the classroom was very relaxed and it was a nice way to ease back into school and the rigor of classes, and the dog was very cute. But it is not all fun and games, in that same class I have a problem set due tomorrow, so better finish that up. At least I have that dog to motivate me!

Department Details: Mathematics

16 Feb


Robinson Hall, home to the Mathematics Department.

Robinson Hall, home to the Mathematics Department.


“Ponder the possibilities of time travel. Apply number theory to crunch through codes. Explore the structure of Hilbert space. Study abroad in Budapest or Scotland. Engage in research projects with faculty. Consider the opportunities that the study of mathematics has provided recent majors who have pursued careers as analysts with consulting firms, as actuaries, as financial analysts in the banking and finance arenas, as teachers, and as software developers; other majors have pursued advanced degrees in mathematics, computer science, economics, engineering, law, and medicine.

During their four years at W&L, mathematics majors learn to “walk and talk” in such fundamental areas of mathematics as single and multi-variable calculus, linear algebra, modern abstract algebra, real and complex analysis, ordinary and partial differential equations, geometry, topology, mathematical statistics, graph theory, and numerical analysis. By “walking and talking” we mean that our goal is for our students to be not only technically sound, but also conversant in mathematics. Each year, several of our majors participate in summer research, either here at W&L or at other universities. Since 1990, our students have written four software packages, developed five websites, published seven expository papers, and authored or co-authored twelve articles appearing in prestigious professional journals such as the American Mathematical Monthly, Linear Algebra and its Applications, and the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society.”

Editors note: The Mathematics Department also runs The Math Center, which is open 8-10 Su-Th and is staffed by upperclassmen Math majors who are available to assist any students who need help in their Math Classes. This was a big help for me freshman year!

For more information on the Math Department, click here.

New Recruits

28 Jan

Seniors from High School are not the only people that want to come to Washington and Lee. There are also transfers and a number of students from abroad. But the people I want to talk about are the people who could be teaching you in the next few years, the teachers. I am a Math Major and currently the Math department is looking for a new teacher. Any guesses on how many applications have been received…. Almost. The number is over 500, around 575 I believe. Not the best chances to get the job, but the great thing about being at W&L is that for many students they get a chance to help their given departments. I was lucky enough to take one of the people interviewing for the job position in the Math department to lunch. It was a lot of fun and quite the honor. It shows you just how much the faculty and school value the opinions of the students because afterwards I had to give a report on the perspective teacher. (Overall, he passed with flying colors) So not only can you be involved with the teachers at the school now when at W&L, but you can help the school pick its teachers for the future!

Tour Guide Spotlight: Emily Hudson ’14

30 Dec
Emily Hudson '14

Emily Hudson ’14

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Major(s)/Minor(s): Physics/Engineering and Math

What clubs/activities are you involved in on campus? I was a member of the volleyball team, a Johnson scholar, an actress in school plays, and I’m in a sorority (Kappa Delta).

How are you involved in the Lexington community? I volunteer at local schools.

What are some of your other hobbies/interests? I love anything that has to do with the arts.  I am a model and an actress. I love volunteering, children, and dogs.

Favorite weekend activity? I love driving to Charlottesville on a random Friday night for dinner and I love hanging out and going out with friends.

Favorite thing about Lexington?  Everyone is so friendly, everything is in walking distance, and it is a very relaxing atmosphere.

What’s your favorite W&L memory? Midnight breakfast during exam week.  Everyone was stressed after studying for hours and hours, and tension was released when everyone stuffed their faces with delicious breakfast food in D-hall.

What’s the best encounter you’ve had with a faculty or staff member? Every time I come to the office hours of my Physics teacher, she always checks in on my life; she asks about my play, about volleyball, and about my life in general.  My teachers actually know what activities I am involved with on campus.  My teachers have even attended my volleyball games; they actually care about me as a person.


Tour Guide Spotlight: Claire Higginbotham

28 Dec

Claire Higginbotham ’14

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Major(s)/Minor(s): Math and Spanish

What clubs/activities are you involved in on campus? Kappa Delta Sorority, Adopt-a-Classroom Literacy Campaign, RUF

How are you involved in the Lexington community? I volunteer for the Adopt-a-Classroom Literacy Campaign where I read to 3rd graders weekly and organize activities that reinforce the message of the book.

What are some of your other hobbies/interests? RUF, running

Favorite weekend activity? Going out to eat or into town. The band parties are really fun, and I love whenever KD has a mixer.

Favorite thing about Lexington?  It’s beautiful! Also, pretty much everything is in walking distance, and the community is very friendly. I love how the University is the main focus of the town and how almost everyone in Lexington is involved with W&L.

What’s your favorite W&L memory? I’ve absolutely loved every minute here, so it’s hard for me to choose a favorite memory. However, I distinctly remember the first time I referred to W&L as my home. Exhausted during rush week, I spoke without thinking when I said how glad I was to be back home after Christmas Break. The transition process was so natural and easy that I adjusted to the school before I had even realized. How quickly the students feel at home and become involved here is one of my favorite aspects of the school.

What’s the best encounter you’ve had with a faculty or staff member? I really enjoy meeting with my advisor. She’s always willing to help me organize my schedule for the semester and help me get into my preferred classes. I have found that having an advisor to help ease the process of registering and choosing classes really makes the process less stressful.


Tour Guide Spotlight: Elizabeth Bean ’13

9 Nov

Elizabeth Bean ’13

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Major(s)/Minor(s): Business Administration/Mathematics

What clubs/activities are you involved in on campus? I was the Membership/Recruitment Chair for Kappa Kappa Gamma.  I also am a city coordinator for the new Career Services program, Internship Opportunity Initiative.

How are you involved in the Lexington community? I have adopted a classroom at Central Elementary School and read to third graders every Friday.

What are some of your other hobbies/interests? I really enjoy the outdoors and being active.  When it’s warm enough, I like to hike and hang out at Goshen.  I have spent most of my summers at a summer camp in North Carolina where I whitewater kayak and canoe.  In high school I played both soccer and lacrosse.

Favorite weekend activity? Long walks on the Chessie Trail

Favorite thing about Lexington? I love that (almost) anywhere I could need to go, I do not have to take a car to get there.

What’s your favorite W&L memory? Freshman year, Christmas weekend Lexington got it’s first big snow of the winter.  It was my first experience in a snow storm, and I spent the day with my friends in front of the Colonnade building snowmen and snow tubing down the hill.

What’s the best encounter you’ve had with a faculty or staff member? The best encounters I have had with faculty have been during office hours.  Professors are more than willing to help students outside of class and are very flexible with meeting times.  They make an effort to get to know me beyond as a student and often I run into them around town.

Beauty and Surprise in Mathematics

1 Nov

One of my favorite things that happens at W&L are professor public lectures. Even if it’s the extra credit that brings you to the lecture, it will never be the only thing you take away. All the professors at W&L are not only extremely knowledgable about their field of study, but they are more passionate and excited about their work than any adults I have ever met. And when they get a chance to convey that passion and enthusiasm, they never disappoint.

This afternoon my calculus professor, Nathan Feldman, gave a talk about the beauty of math. I know, beauty in math? I was confused as well. The notes I take in class are definitely not always beautiful. But during this lecture I learned and saw many interesting patterns that can be found in math.Did you know?

  • There are over 500 proofs of the Pythagorean theorem, and former president James Garfield came up with one.

But what made the lecture really interesting was Professor Feldman’s passion and love for math.

And if you couldn’t take anything else from this post, here’s a Robert E. Lee Fun Fact I learned in Professor Feldman’s lecture: Robert E. Lee was actually an assistant math professor at West Point during his sophomore year of college!