If you’re interested in learning how to improve a golf swing, create a better baseball bat or combat sepsis, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is the place to be. More than 200 mathematicians and scientists will attend NJIT’s first international research conference May 21-22. The event will shed light on 40 unusual and important research activities such as the ones above. Conference sponsors are NJIT’s Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Center for Applied Mathematics and Statistics.
The speakers are renowned in a field called applied mathematics. They are also known for their expertise using a new and sought-after research technique called mathematical modeling. Their presentations will repeatedly highlight this technique.
“The key advantage of mathematical modeling is that it provides a non-invasive or inexpensive method to obtain new and important data about a phenomenon,” said Daljit Ahluwahlia, conference director, professor of mathematics and department chair.
Conference activities begin 9 a.m., May 21, and last into the evening with a reception and banquet. Saturday hours are 9 a.m-5 p.m. Activities will include plenary lectures, min symposia and 60 poster presentations by researchers and NJIT students. To date, 150 people have registered.
Key speakers will include John Milton, co-director of the clinical neurophysiology laboratories of the University of Chicago Hospitals, discussing the dynamic aspects of the development of physical expertise. Milton, who speaks from 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. on May 21, studies how expertise is gained in the performance of motor skills. He applies his research to athletes and believes that his observations “strongly resonate” with recent studies about eye-hand coordination tasks, such as the golf swing.
Paul Martin, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines, will discuss building better baseball bats from 10:45-11:15. “Waves in Wood and Vibrations of Baseball Bats” is his topic.
At 5 p.m., Daniel Goldman, an assistant professor of mathematics at NJIT, will demonstrate how mathematical modeling can shed light on treating sepsis. His talk is entitled: “Modeling Oxygen Transport at the Micro Vascular Level During Sepsis.”
Conference speakers will also focus on their recent research and accomplishments in the fields of mathematical biology, computational fluid mechanics, nonlinear optics, wave propagation, electromagnetics, and applied statistics.
This conference is the first in a five-year series at NJIT to bring more visibility to research. The series is part of a larger strategic initiative to improve the university. “You hold a conference like this to bring prominent people to your campus so that they can see what you are doing,” noted Ahluwahlia.
“We're a strong research and teaching department in applied mathematics, but we are not as well known outside NJIT as we should be. This conference gives us the opportunity to show to the rest of the world the kinds of research we're conducting and the quality of this work.
“The poster session allows our researchers and doctoral students to present and discuss their research. As people walk through this area of the conference, they can discuss this research on a one-to-one basis.”
Mathematical modeling is an important way in which math can be applied to help scientists and engineers solve seemingly difficult problems faster and with fewer costs. Mathematical modeling can provide a quantitative description of the phenomenon with which to test whether specific mechanisms are operative in producing the phenomenon. In the health sciences, mathematical modeling can reduce the use of laboratory animals in research or avoid invasive procedures. In engineering fields, it is a way to find information without building expensive models.