Office: 216 Ware Hall
Phone: (478) 301-2815 Fax: (478) 301-2378 Email: symington_mf [at] mercer.edu Address:
Department of Mathematics
1400 Coleman Avenue
Macon, GA 31207
Teaching:Fall 2010: MAT 191 (Precalculus)
MAT 350 (Introduction to Abstract Mathematics)
Research interests:For the general reader... I am interested in geometry and topology -- in fact, any topic in which visualization helps provide insight. Mathematics research, for me, usually involves drawing lots of pictures. In my work in symplectic topology (my specialty) I am frequently use two-dimensional diagrams to represent certain four-dimensional spaces.
Research with undergraduates:
- Check back in late August/early Sept. for some project ideas -- or just ask me directly. Projects can involve me supporting an investigation of yours, you helping me with something I am curious about, or just learning some interesting math.
- Chris Kirkland helped me investigate the locus of incenters of an interesting family of triangles. The hope was to identify the locus as a "known" algebraic curve. This now seems quite doubtful, though new questions about centers of triangles may be emerging. The family of triangles caught my interest while working on the project with dermatologic surgeon Josh Lane -- see below. ('10)
- I facilitated Daniel Brown's collaboration with Dr. Eric Klingelhofer on calaculations the construction of the fort at First Colony. ('08)
- I enlisted the help of Jonathan Crosby on parts of a project with Dr. Josh Lane, a dermatologist who came asking about the mathematics behind a new surgical procedure he developed. The underlying mathematics concerns the geometry of a lens, and how best to cut it up and then fill a circular region. ('07)
- I supervised Andrew Gainer's honors research project. The project involved determining constraints on the angles in a collection of polygonal curves so that they can represent the boundary of a surface lying in the plane without folding -- but allowing it to wrap around on top of itself. ('05-'06)
For fellow researchers... My expertise is in symplectic topology, in particular the topology of symplectic manifolds of dimension four. I am interested in questions at the interface of symplectic topology, toric geometry and the topology of smooth four-manifolds.
You can access my papers at the ArXiv
I am interested in reaching out to and supporting local middle and high school math teachers. Toward this end I
- collaborated with CEISMC, Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing, to run week-long summer workshops and follow-up workshops to help teachers from Coffee County better understand the mathematics and pedagogy implicit in the new Georgia Performance Standards in Mathematics. ('07-'10)
- initiated and coordinated a student/faculty outreach to the math club at Miller Middle School,
- twice organized our Sonia Kovalevsky Day, and
- initiated a David Blackwell Day to also encourage high school boys to study math (really a Sonia Kovalevsky Day for boys),
Educational background:Ph.D. 1996, Stanford University, Mathematics