The Annual Meeting of the Texas Section
of the
Mathematical Association of America
in Edinburg, Texas on
April 12 - 14, 2007

The Texas Section of the MAA held its 2007 annual meeting in Edinburg, Texas on April 12, 13 and 14, 2007 on the campus of the University of Texas - Pan American. The headquarters hotel was the Echo Hotel and Conference Center. For more information about it, click here.

Texas Section MAA Problem Solving Carnival

The Problem Solving Carnival was held on Thursday, April 12, 2007 from 7 pm to 9 pm in the Hidalgo room of the Echo Hotel. Undergraduate students from each college or university attending the section meeting were invited to enter a team to compete in this problem solving competition.

Twenty teams were accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Institutions could enter more than one team; however, a second or third team from an institution was accepted pending full accommodation to institutions that only enter one team.

Each team had 2-5 members and each team member was given a set of problems. No calculators were allowed. When a team solved a problem, one member took the team's solution to the carnival events line. The first person in the carnival events line selected an event such as throwing a dart at a board filled with balloons, throwing a ball into a hoop, etc.

If the team member was unsuccessful in the carnival event, he or she had to move to the back of the line. A different team member could replace the member at the end of the line but only one member from each team could stand in the line at any given time.

If a team member was successful in the carnival event, he or she took the team's solution to the judge. The judge awarded 8 points for the first correct solution, 7 points for the second correct solution, 6 for the third, etc. After 8 teams had solved a problem, that problem was retired.

The top 8 teams competed in a final round with a second set of problems. Prizes were awarded to the top 3 teams.


Lokenath Debnath, The University of Texas – Pan American

Lokenath Debnath is Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Texas - Pan American, Edinburg, TX. He served the University of Central Florida as Professor and Chair of Mathematics and as Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He has served as a Lecturer of the SIAM Visiting Lecturer Program and as a Visiting Speaker of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) from 1990.

He also has served as organizer of several professional meetings and conferences at regional, national, and international levels; and as Director of six NSF-CBMS research conferences. Dr. Debnath is author or co-author of many graduate level books and research monographs, including the third edition of Introduction to Hilbert Spaces with Applications, Nonlinear Water Waves, Continuum Mechanics published by Academic Press, the fourth edition of Linear Partial Differential Equations for Scientists and Engineers published by Birkhauser Verlag, the second edition of Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations for Scientists and Engineers, Wavelet Transforms and Their Applications published by Birkhauser Verlag, and the second edition of Integral Transforms and Their Applications by CRC.. He has also edited eleven research monographs including Nonlinear Waves published by Cambridge University Press. He is an author or co-author of over 300 research papers in pure and applied mathematics.

Dambaru Bhatta, The University of Texas – Pan American

Dambaru Bhatta is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas. Dr. Bhatta received his Ph.D. degree in applied mathematics from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. He had worked with various companies in Montreal, Ottawa, and Atlanta. His research interests include wave-structure interaction, computational mathematics, finite element method, nonlinear partial differential equations, fractional calculus, and fractional differential equations.

Drs. Debnath and Bhatta presented a Short Course entitled "Fractional Calculus, Theory and Applications" on Thursday, April 12, 2007 from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM in Echo Hotel Vista room.

Fractional Calculus, Theory and Applications -- We present an introduction to fractional calculus with basic ideas, definitions, rules and few results of fractional order integration and differentiation. Fractional calculus has been used in diverse areas of science and engineering including differential and integral equations, physics, signal processing, fluid mechanics, viscoelasticity, mathematical biology and electrochemistry. Here we will include some examples of applications in fractional ordinary differential equations, integral equations, and partial differential equations.

Jonathan H. Worstell, Shell Global Solutions

Jonathan H. Worstell earned two B.S. degrees from Northwestern University — one in History and one in Physics (with loads of Applied Math Courses). He earned an M.S. in Chemistry from Ball State University and a Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry (a split degree between Chemistry and Chemical Engineering). Dr. Worstell worked eight years for Conoco and he is finishing twenty years with Shell currently. Most all of it in Research and Development, but he have spent time in production plants as well.

Most of his years in the petroleum industry has been devoted to solving plant problems worldwide. Dr. Worstell’s advice to new Shell employees is “a little bit of math goes a long way toward solving even the hardest plant problem.”

Dr Worstell presented at the Student Fonim on Friday, April 13, 2007 at 11:00 am in room MAGC 1.206 at UTPA. Math - A Most Versatile Degree -- Mathematics may well be the most versatile degree currently offered by universities. A degree in mathematics can lead to careers as diverse as: medicine, physiology, physical chemistry, cell biology, nuclear engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, applied physics, investment banking, and national security. This paper showed how a degree in mathematics prepares an individual for a possible career in any one of the above opportunities.

Efraim Armendariz, The University of Texas at Austin

Efraim Armendariz received his Ph. D. in Mathematics from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln) in 1966, under the supervision of Dr. William G. Leavitt. He has held positions at Texas A&M, the University of Nebraska, the University of Southern California, the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a professor since 1980 and chair since 1991 at the University of Texas.

His research investigations have dealt with various aspects of noncommutative ring theory, with an emphasis on rings satisfying a polynomial identity and generalizations of von Neumann regular rings. He has published over 40 research articles in this area, a book on elementary number theory and has supervised 6 doctoral students in Mathematics, 3 in Science and Mathematics Education and 31 Master’s students.

Dr. Armendariz is currently a member of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). In this capacity he has served as Level III Director (1992-96), Chair of the Texas Section (1996-97), and Arrangements Chair and Organizer for the annual meeting of the Texas Section in April, 2000. He has also served and chaired various national committees, including the MAA Committee on Minority Participation in Mathematics. He is currently a member of the Board of Governors of the MAA, serving as Governor-at-Large for Minority Interests.

Dr. Armendariz other professional service includes membership and chairing of post-doctoral selection panels for the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation; member of the Human Resources Advisory Committee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute; and member of the Committee of Visitors for the NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences. Dr. Armendariz received the Texas Excellence Teaching Award from the College of Natural Sciences, UT Austin in 1992 and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Texas Section of the MAA in 1998.

Dr. Armendariz presented an Invited Address on Friday April 13, 2007 at 1:10 PM in the Student Union Theatre entitled "Some Interesting Examples from Ring Theory" -- Algebraic geometry and algebraic number theory have helped to make commutative rings and their properties reasonably well-established objects in mathematical circles. In contrast, noncommutative rings do not appear to have been as well-received in the mathematics community. It is hoped that by means of appropriate examples the distinction between the classes of rings will be made clearer, as well as some indication of the techniques that are used in the study of such rings.

Stuart Anderson, Texas A&M-Commerce University

2006 Recipient of the Texas Section Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics Award

Stuart Anderson has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of North Texas and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. He is professor of Mathematics at Texas A&M-Commerce where he has taught since 1980.

His research interests include geometric topology, dynamical systems, history of mathematics, and mathematics education. He has designed courses in history of mathematics, dynamical systems, and philosophy and application of mathematics. He has been named a Piper Professor and has received the Barrus Distinguished Teaching Award.

Dr. Anderson is the Teaching Award Winner. He presented a talk on Saturday, April 14, 2007 at 8:30 AM in the Hidalgo room of Echo Hotel entitled "Teaching and the 3x + 1 Problem" - A famous unsolved problem is "The 3x + 1 Problem" (also known as the Collatz Conjecture or Ulam's Problem). An attempt to solve this problem, though ultimately unsuccessful, is used to highlight some sound teaching practices.

Panel Discussion

John E. Bernard,
UT – Pan American

Karron Lewis,
Center for Teaching Excellence,

Cristina Villalobos,
UT – Pan American

Mathematics Professional Development for Faculty: Why? How?

Saturday, April 14, 2009 at 9:10 AM in the Hidalgo room of Echo Hotel.

Tina H. Straley, Executive Director of the Mathematical Association of America

Tina H. Straley assumed her present position as Executive Director of the Mathematical Association of America in January 2000. She received her Ph.D. degree in mathematics from Auburn University, specializing in combinatorics and universal algebra. After spending two years on the faculty at Auburn, Tina was appointed Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Kennesaw Junior College, which changed to Kennesaw College and finally to Kennesaw State University.

Dr. Straley was promoted to Associate Professor and Professor, eventually becoming Chair of the Department of Mathematics and then Associate Vice President for Scholarship and Graduate Studies. During her tenure at Kennesaw, Tina spent a year as Visiting Research Associate at Emory University and two years as Program Officer for Mathematics and Coordinator of Teacher Preparation in the Division of Undergraduate Education of the National Science Foundation.

Dr Straley presented an invited address on Saturday, April 14, 2007 at 10:30 AM in Echo Hotel Hidalgo room entitled "My Favorite Problems" -- Many problems that arise in everyday situations can be “solved” using mathematics, but the outcome may not be solutions in the traditional sense. The problems discussed in the talk were ill-posed and subject to interpretation and did not have exact solutions. That made them interesting and fun.

I promised to send copies of my hand out for my talk on the 1089 Puzzle to some people. Please send me an e-mail message and I will send you a copy of the hand out as an attachment. Here are some pictures I took of the festivities as "official photographer" of the meeting. Enjoy!

See you April 3, 4 and 5, 2008 at

This web page designed by and photos taken by

Dr. John F. Lamb, Jr.

Official Texas Section Photograoher

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
Texas A&M University at Commerce
Commerce, Texas

Please send questions, comments, corrections, additions and deletions to me by e-mail.

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