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Midwest Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium

***MUMS 2020 has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We hope to see you at MUMS 2021 next Spring!***

The 17th annual Midwest Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium (MUMS) will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2020, at Simpson College. The conference will feature contributed talks and poster presentations by undergraduates.  Our plenary speaker will be Annalisa Crannell from Franklin & Marshall College.  Jeremy Ward '09 from the Air Force Research Laboratory will be our alumni keynote speaker.


  • Promote student engagement in the mathematical sciences, including projects and research (completed individually or in groups).
  • Provide students the opportunity to share and celebrate the work they have completed in the mathematical sciences.
  • Introduce students to topics and applications of mathematics that are new to them.
  • Inform students about research programs and study abroad opportunities in the mathematical sciences.
  • Inform students about career and graduate school opportunities in the mathematical sciences.

Tentative Schedule

All events in Carver Science Center, Indianola Campus
8:30AM Registration and Poster Session set-up (Carver Atrium)
9:00AM Plenary address by Annalisa Crannell (Jordan Lecture Hall)
10:00AM Break
10:15AM Student talks (Carver Classrooms)
11:15AM Career panel (Jordan Lecture Hall)
12:00PM Lunch (Carver 3rd Floor; free for registered participants)
1:00PM Student Talks (Carver Classrooms)
2:00PM Poster session (Carver Atrium)
3:00PM Alumni Keynote Address by Jeremy Ward (Jordan Lecture Hall)
4:00PM Closing remarks (Jordan Lecture Hall)

MUMS 2020 PDF Schedule Coming Soon!


Plenary Talks

Drawing conclusions from drawing a square

The Renaissance famously brought us amazingly realistic perspective art.  That art was the spark from which projective geometry caught fire and grew.  This talk looks directly at projective geometry as a tool to illuminate the way we see the world around us, whether we look with our eyes, with our cameras, or with the computer (via our favorite animated movies).  One of the surprising results of projective geometry is that it implies that every quadrangle (whether convex or not) is the perspective image of a square. We will describe implications of this result for computer vision, for photogrammetry, for applications of piecewise planar cones, and of course for perspective art and projective geometry.

Annalisa Crannell is a Professor of Mathematics at Franklin & Marshall College and recipient of both her college’s and the MAA's distinguished teaching awards.  Her early research was in topological dynamical systems (also known as "Chaos Theory"), but she has become active in working with mathematicians and artists on Projective Geometry applied to Perspective Art.   Together with mathematician/artists Marc Frantz and Fumiko Futamura, she is the author of Perspective and Projective Geometry, and also  Viewpoints: Mathematical Perspective and Fractal Geometry in Art.  She especially enjoys talking to non-mathematicians who haven't (yet) learned where the most beautiful aspects of the subject lie.


Please fill out the Registration Form.

There is no registration fee, but we do request that you register in advance by April 3.  We will provide lunch at no cost for all registered participants.  When you fill out the registration form, please let us know whether you will be joining us for lunch and if you have any dietary restrictions.

Call for Presentations

Undergraduate students are invited and encouraged to make presentations in any mathematics-related field. Possible topics for talks and posters include, but are not limited to:

  • results of class projects;
  • solutions to contest problems (Putnam Exam, modeling or data analytics competitions, etc.);
  • results from undergraduate research projects (summer programs, capstone courses, etc.);
  • expository talks on interesting topics in mathematics;
  • papers on the history of mathematics;
  • mathematics education projects; and
  • independent work in mathematics, statistics, computer science, or related disciplines.

Abstract Submission

Abstracts are due by Friday, April 3, 2020.  Abstract submissions must include the following information:

  • names of all presenters and their schools;
  • title of the presentation;
  • brief abstract (one paragraph);
  • your preference for a talk or poster presentation; and
  • faculty sponsor(s).

We have a limited number of time slots available for student talks, but a larger capacity for poster presentations.  Please submit your title and abstract by filling out our registration form (link above).  To see abstracts from previous years, click on "MUMS 2019 Abstracts" or "MUMS 2017 Abstracts" below. If you have any questions, contact Dr. Katherine Vance or Dr. Heidi Berger.

MUMS 2019 Abstracts

MUMS 2017 Abstracts

Presentation and Travel FAQs