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A Multi-Disciplinary Colloquium, Friday September 14th

When:  Friday, September 14th, 2012 from 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM

What: Two presentations by School of Science Faculty on respective research, lunch will be served

Where: SCP-101


Dr. Ed Conjura, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

“Mathematical Modeling for the purpose of trading in the Commodity Futures Market”

Hindsight is perhaps the most commonly talked about method of deciding whether someone should have bought or sold a particular investment. Expressions like “can you imagine if I had only bought 100 shares of Google when it was first offered” are common mantras of the aspiring investor. The purpose of this talk is to focus on insight rather than hindsight. In this brief presentation an overview of the commodity futures market will be given. A brief history of technical vs. fundamental trading methods will be covered. Tools needed in order to do research into technical methods will be discussed. And; finally, an overview of a particular mathematical trading model will be given based on research done during summer of 2012 and ongoing work being done during fall 2012.

Dr. Matthew Wund, Department of Biology

“How ‘Nurture’ can Impact the ‘Nature’ of Evolutionary Change”

Evolution is a change in the inherited features of a population across generations. In organic evolution, biological features are primarily (although not exclusively) inherited through the vertical transmission of DNA from parents to their offspring (“nature”). While the environment can certainly affect how traits are expressed (“nurture”), such variation has traditionally been viewed as noise by evolutionary biologists. This view holds that the environment is only important in evolution as an agent of selection, choosing among the traits produced by genetic variation. However, as we learn more about how the action of genes is contingent upon environmental context, it is becoming clear that the environment plays a much greater role in evolution than previously thought. Evidence is mounting that environmental variation, and in particular the ways that organisms respond to it, might have profound effects on rates of evolution, the production of novel traits, and how new species form. The threespine stickleback fish, Gasterosteus aculeatus, is particularly useful for testing hypotheses about how environmental effects on individual development can influence phenotypic changes over evolutionary timescales.