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Patterns are Everywhere! How and Why?

Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher

January 29, 2011
An interactive session led by Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher 

Professor at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and of the Department of Mathematics, Virginia Tech
Presentation Slides
KTU Booklet

Flock of starlings' dazzling aerial ballet captured on video

Did you know that we are surrounded by patterns--everywhere? For example, farmers need to understand weather patterns to plan their harvests. Your parents need to understand traffic patterns to drive you to school safely. Music and dance excite us through patterns of sounds and movement. Some patterns are pretty easy to spot, like the pattern on a seashell, or the pattern on a snowflake. However, other patterns around us aren’t so easy to see, like the patterns on a pine cone, or the patterns of ocean waves. I’ll bet you wouldn’t guess patterns exist in clouds! To discover some of these patterns, we need to be very, very observant. So join me and together we’ll hunt down some patterns in the world around us--and as we investigate how these patterns form and why they’re there, the answers may surprise you!

Dr. Laubenbacher has been a Professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Virginia Tech since 2001. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem (NC) and Affiliate Faculty in the Virginia Tech Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. Prior to these appointments Dr. Laubenbacher was Professor of Mathematics at New Mexico State University. He has served as Visiting Faculty at Los Alamos National Laboratories, was a member of the Mathematical Science Research Institute at Berkeley in 1998, and was a Visiting Associate Professor at Cornell University in 1990 and 1993. Current interests in Dr. Laubenbacher’s research group include the development of mathematical algorithms and their application to problems in systems biology, in particular the modeling and simulation of molecular networks. An application area of particular interest is cancer systems biology, especially the role of iron metabolism in breast cancer.

January 2011 - Hands-On Exhibits
After the interactive session the students were escorted by their parents to have lunch and then to the hands-on portion of the event. There the students enjoyed the experience of interacting with various exhibits from the Virginia Tech community.

Dancing with the Stars: what's math got to do with it?
At the VCOM Conference Center in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC)
with co-instructor Prof. Cara Rawlings, Theater Arts Department

• There are mathematical patterns everywhere, even in the way we dance! Learn how your movements can be arranged in mathematical patterns in order to choreograph dance moves.

• Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher (that morning's storyteller) will be in an adjacent room giving a presentation to the parents:
Lecture & Question & Answer session on: Math and Science in Our Everyday Lives

Hunting for Patterns
At the Math Emporium in the University Mall