Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Math and Science to Come Together at LSUS Lecture

by BIZ Magazine

SHREVEPORT – The Samuel and Mary Abramson Distinguished Lecture Series kicks off Friday with famed mathematician Dr. Miklos Bona speaking at the Science Lecture Auditorium.

But Bona won’t be delivering a niche lecture accessible only to professional mathematicians, although he could after earning his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and teaching for decades in the field.

Bona will speaking about how math is used in determining how genetically different biological species are from each other.

“DNA sequences vary, but species are more closely related than most would think,” said Dr. Tibor Szarvas, the dean of College of Arts & Sciences at LSUS and a math professor. “You can track how close species are to each other based on mathematical permutations and developing algorithms to track this.

“So this talk will touch on biology, computer science, algorithm theory and mathematics in one shot.”

The lecture will begin at 11 a.m. in the Science Lecture Auditorium.

Bona has taught at the University of Florida since 1999 where he was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars. He’s authored 95 academic publications, including five books.

The lecture series typically contains five or six lectures that start in April and May and stretch throughout the summer.

Funded mostly by the Samuel and Mary Abramson Endowed Professorship, the series aims to showcase topics in a practical and applicable way.

“The goal is to enhance the academic experience of the college and provide the local community with a professional resource,” said Szarvas, who added that the lectures are open to the public. “We also want to engage our alumni and demonstrate to them the things we’re doing in the college.”

The series has its roots in a practically volunteer lecture week from Dr. Jimmy Roberts, who served as the dissertation advisor for both Szarvas and former LSUS Interim Chancellor Dr. Paul Sisson at the University of South Carolina.

Roberts, who blazed a path in a specialized area in mathematical functional analysis, would visit LSUS for one week in the spring to give lectures to students and faculty.

“He was one of the top names in the country and around the world,” said Szarvas, whose College of Arts & Sciences is the presenter of the lecture series. “Paul and I decided one year that we’d invite him to come out, and he gladly came and did a handful of lectures while meeting with faculty and students to discuss various topics.

“Then it became a traditional almost every spring.”

Roberts did that for about a decade starting in 2008, and the Abramson professorship allowed “Jimmy Roberts Week” to expand to multiple speakers and topics through the years.

The lecture series is expanding again this year as the Institute for Nonprofit Administration and Research at LSUS is also participating.

Dr. Mark Sidel, a professor of law and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is giving a lecture about scaling the nonprofit sector on April 29.

Nonprofits face an increasingly difficult financial landscape, and Sidel will address issues and legal implications of scaling up the nonprofit sector.

Sidel served for a number of years with the Ford Foundation and has consulted with U.S. and international nonprofit organizations, foundations and aid agencies.

That lecture, which is also open to the public, will take place at 11 a.m. in the Science Lecture Auditorium.

Stay tuned for more lecture dates in the Abramson Lecture Series.

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