LSU College of Science

LSU Mathematics Student Colloquium


The goal of the LSU Mathematics Student Colloquium is to give both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to hear and interact with speakers from across the country, providing information and perspective possibly relevant to their graduate and postgraduate careers.

Each invited speaker will spend several days at LSU, giving multiple talks and making himself or herself available to undergraduates.

Talks are not confined to the math department but open to everyone. Those majoring in related fields are encouraged to come.

LSU Student Government

We are a charted LSU student organization (constitution and bylaws). We are munificently funded by the Student Government Programming, Support, and Initiatives Fund (PSIF), and the LSU Mathematics Department.  We are grateful for the generous past funding made by grants from the National Science Foundation (a VIGRE grant) and the Board of Regents.

Fall 2017: 

Peter Nelson
(November 6--8, 2017)


Dr. Nelson is a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. His research interests include structural and extremal graph theory, and their links with coding theory and extremal combinatorics. Much of Dr. Nelson’s work settles old conjectures in matroid theory.

Undergraduate Talk (284 Lockett; Monday, Nov. 6, 1:30-2:30PM)

Title: Squaring the Square

Abstract: Is it possible to decompose a square into smaller squares of different sizes? The solution to this problem, which has surprising links to graph theory, linear algebra and even physics, was discovered by four undergraduate students at Cambridge University in the 1930's. I will tell the interesting mathematical story that led to this discovery.

Graduate Talk (284 Lockett; Wednesday, Nov. 8, 1:30-2:30PM)

Title: How to Draw a Graph

Abstract: Given a network of points and edges that can be drawn in the plane without crossing edges, what is the best way to actually draw it? Can such a network always be drawn with just straight lines? I will discuss and (mostly) prove a beautiful theorem of William Tutte that answers this question using intuitive ideas from physics.