Mathematics and Statistics

News and Events in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics

The Department of Mathematics is now The Department of Mathematics and Statistics with majors in both mathematics and statistics.

Ongoing - Math and Stats Table every Monday, noon - 1:30, Valentine Terrace Room B MOST weeks    

Past News and Events can be found in the Archive.

Walker Prize Exam - April 21

The Walker Prize Exam for first-year students and sophomores will be held on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 7 to 10 pm in 206 SM. Prizes are awarded to the top two performers in each class year. The exam is designed to emphasize mathematical ingenuity rather than possession of specific background material. No mathematics beyond that covered in Math 111-121 will be assumed.

Mu Sigma Rho Induction

In 2012-2013, Amherst began nominating outstanding students in Statistics to membership in Mu Sigma Rho,the National Statistics Honorary Society. This year, the Department would like to congratulate Johannes Ferstad, Jason Premo, Thomas Savage, Jarvis Sill, and Ningyue (Christina) Wang on their nomination and induction into Mu Sigma Rho. Congratulations!

DataFest Results

Amherst College was represented by 4 teams (a total of 18 students) at the Five College DataFest held the weekend of March 27-29, part of a national competition sponsored by the American Statistical Association. This was the second year for the event in the Five Colleges. Participants spent 25 hours over the course of the weekend tackling a large dataset, and gave 6-minute presentations summarizing their insights. 6 teams out of 16 total were awarded prizes. Amherst teams won awards for: Best Business Value (Team: Jo-Jo ToAlTrev), Best Pitch (Team: 95% Confident), and Best Use of External Data (Team: The Women in Black). We were thrilled by the turn-out and hard work from Amherst students, and look forward to participation next year. Congratulations to all participants!

  • Best Pitch: 95% Confident (Amherst College): Paul Gramieri, Caleb Ki, Levi Lee, Thomas Matthew, and Albert Yu
  • Best Business Value: Jo-Jo ToAlTrev (Amherst College): Johannes Ferstad, Jon Jordan, Thomas Savage, Trevor Smith, Alexander Titelbaum
  • Best Use of External Data: Women in Black (Amherst College): Muling Si, Jenny Xiao, Qi Xie, Jingwen Zhang


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Audrey St. John, Mount Holyoke College

Rigidity Theory for Robotics, Drug Design and CAD

When designing a bridge, how can we minimize the amount of building materials while maintaining stability? Are there computational tools that can help predict protein flexibility, a key component in drug design? Rigidity theory seeks to answer these questions by studying structural properties from mathematical and computational perspectives. In this talk, I will discuss the fundamental questions considered by rigidity theory and its applications, including those in robotics, structural biology and Computer Aided Design for mechanical engineers. 


Audrey St. John is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Mount Holyoke College. Her research is motivated by computational challenges arising in robotics, biology and Computer Aided Design; in 2013, she received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). St. John earned a B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Wellesley College (Summa Cum Laude, Honors in CS), followed by an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from UMass Amherst (her graduate work was partially supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship). 

4:30 pm, Seeley Mudd 206 with refreshments in Seeley Mudd 208 at 4:00.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Walker Prize Exam for First Year students and Sophomores

The Walker Prize Examination is an annual Mathematics competition for any interested first and second year students at Amherst College. The competition takes the form of a timed written exam, usually consisting of ten problems over the course of three hours. No calculators, phones, books, notes, or other aids are allowed during the exam.

There are substantial monetary prizes for the top two scorers in each of the two class years eligible. That is, first year students are competing only with other first years, and sophomores are competing only with other sophomores. Ties are rare but possible.

The exam is designed to emphasize mathematical ingenuity rather than possession of specific background material. In particular, no mathematics beyond that covered in MATH 111-121 will be assumed, and many of the problems don't require content even at that level. The problems are intended to be interesting and thought-provoking. The clarity of each participant's written arguments, and not just mathematical correctness of the answers, counts heavily in the scoring.

 For more information about the exam and to see old exams, go to the Prizes and Awards page.

 7:00 - 10:00 pm, Seeley Mudd 206

Mathematics Q Fellow Position Announced

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics is pleased to announce a Mathematics Q Fellow position for seniors and recent alumni. Interested? The full job ad is available here.


Mathematics, Statistics, and Basketball

Take a look at this NYT article about our women's basketball team, which includes quotes from Megan Robertson, who is majoring in both mathematics and statistics.



View a calendar of events in the Five College area.