Chad Awtrey presents research and SoTL papers at MathFest

Chad Awtrey, assistant professor of mathematics, presented three talks at MathFest, the national meeting of the Mathematical Association of America, in Lexington, Ky., from Aug. 4-6, 2011.

Awtrey’s talk, “Combining Problem Solving and Writing in Single Variable Calculus Courses,” detailed his innovative approach for infusing writing into the curriculum of Elon’s first two semesters of calculus (MTH 121, MTH 221). As part of Awtrey’s ongoing SoTL project, the writing program incorporates daily writing activities, introduces basic proof techniques, and includes several major writing projects.

In “Solvability of Irreducible Quintic Polynomials,” Awtrey discussed the 4,000-year-old quadratic equation (familiar to every college algebra student), the 600-year-old cubic and quartic equations, and his new computational method for determining when a polynomial of degree five can be solved in a manner similar to the quadratic equation.

In his talk, “Galois Group Computations via Resolvents and Subfields,” Awtrey updated mathematics researchers on his new techniques for analyzing arithmetic invariants arising in p-adic fields and their applications to the most famous unsolved problem in mathematics, the Riemann Hypothesis. A corresponding paper has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics and is co-authored with senior mathematics major Trevor Edwards.

Trevor Edwards also presented at MathFest. His talk, “P-adic Numbers and Their Galois Groups,” was based on research conducted with Awtrey during the 2011 spring semester.