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Beyond the Classroom

Interested in authentic research experience in Mathematics?

Math studentsOur faculty frequently collaborate with Linfield students in research projects, generally during the summer, and often funded by a Linfield Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant. Here we highlight a few ongoing research projects. 

Competitive Graph Coloring

Two players, Alice and Bob, alternate coloring the vertices of a graph from a fixed list of colors in such a way that adjacent vertices receive different colors. Alice, the first player, wins the game if the entire graph is eventually colored.

One might wonder, what is the least number of colors needed to ensure that Alice has a winning strategy?

To study this question is to do research in competitive graph coloring. Professors Dunn and Nordstrom have mentored more than 25 students in this area, resulting in three published papers and a book chapter. These publications include 14 undergraduate co-authors.

Mathematical Modeling via Differential Equations

Would you like to model the spatial spread of a favored gene in a population or the population dynamics of a terrorist organization? Professor Bricher has worked with many students on a variety of mathematical modeling problems such as these that use the power of differential equations. View an example of Professor Bricher's work in this area.

The Mathematics of Tiling

Can a given region be tiled by a particular set of tiles? A well-crafted tiling question can utilize a wide range of undergraduate math tools to solve, such as linear algebra, number theory, group theory and topology. Professor Hitchman has mentored eight students in tiling research.

This collaborative work has resulted in at least six regional and national student presentations and has led to four publications.

What’s a little competition among friends?

In your mathematics studies at Linfield, you also have the opportunity to participate in these competitive models of learning.

COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM)

How does ice melt in Greenland affect sea level in Florida? How can we build a more efficient toll booth system? Teams of three use mathematical modeling to present solutions to real-world problems, such as these, all over one long weekend in late winter for MCM.

Earn one credit for participating in the contest by enrolling in the spring semester course, Math Modeling Experience (MATH 280).

math students sitting outside of Taylor HallKryptos

Kryptos is a cryptanalysis (breaking codes and ciphers) contest held in the middle of April every year. Work alone or in small groups to unscramble a series of secret messages posted online by the Kryptos hosts. Teams are ranked at the end of the weekend based on how many challenges they solve and how quickly they do so.

Putnam Exam

The William Lowell Putnam Competition is a challenging mathematics competition held every year for undergraduate students in North America. Discover more information on this, exam including registration dates and deadlines.