Distinguished Lecture
Series in Statistical
Sciences: Raymond
Carroll
ON OCT 4 AND 5, 2017 , Raymond James Carroll,
professor of Statistics at Texas A&M University, gave two
public lectures for the Distinguished Lectures Series in
Statistical Sciences. Professor Carroll's many areas of
methodological research cover a wide range of application
fields, including radiation and nutritional epidemiology,
molecular biology, genomics and many others.
In his first lecture, Professor Carroll took the audience on a
journey to understand how to measure dietary intakes in a
population and how to relate such measures to mortality and
chronic diseases. In animal experiments, different dietary
patterns show that, for example, a fish oil enhanced diet is
protective against colon cancer, DNA damage, deleterious
2016-2017 York-Fields
Math Circle
gene expression and more compared to a corn oil enhanced
diet. In humans, the statistical questions are much more
difficult, because it is impossible, in current practice, to
measure an individual’s long-term average dietary intake
across multiple foods and nutrients. This statistical issue,
along with the media focus on dietary “magic bullets”
has resulted in massive confusion, and sometimes silly
conclusions. Professor Carroll emphasized that focusing on
dietary patterns, instead of magic bullets, leads to far more
robust statistical conclusions.
In his second lecture, Professor Carroll discussed statistical
methods for efficient analysis of case-control studies of gene-
environment interactions using a retrospective likelihood
framework that exploits the natural assumption of gene-
environment independence in the underlying population.
More than one hundred researchers and students attended
the two lectures and the questions of diet, health, statistics,
and mathematics lingered in the minds of audience members
long after the lectures.
— Xin Gao
in the area of number theory, real analysis, cryptography,
graph theory, geometry, trigonometry, sequences and series,
vectors and linear algebra, probability, advanced counting
techniques and problem solving strategies.
This year, the Math Circle was honored by a distinguished
guest speaker, Professor Frank Sottile from the Department
of Mathematics at Texas University, who spoke about
“The Shape of Space”. The presentation focused on
how mathematicians manage to make sense of higher-
dimensional spaces and related this to the recent proof of
the Poincare conjecture that won one of the Clay Institute’s
Millennium Prizes.
The York-Fields Math Circle is an outreach and enrichment
program that brings together mathematicians and high
school students from across the GTA. The Math Circle is
headed by Dr. Varvara Nika, a York graduate, along with
Dr. Corina Georgescu, a TCDSB high school teacher, and
Stefana Penelea and Robert Jordan, graduate students in
the MA for Mathematics Teachers program at York.
Last year the York-Fields Math Circle attracted 40 Grade
11/12 students.Students explored several advanced topics
From June 3rd to June 4th 2017, the York Math Circle team
participated at the 2017 American Regions Mathematics
League (ARML) competition in Pennsylvania, USA. This
was the first time that York University sent their own team
to the ARML competition. Although our team competed with
only 13 students compared to the 15 that other teams had,
we came 43rd among 140 teams. The strongest showing of
our team was the power round questions in which our team
scored 39 out 50. In the spirit of competition, the Math Circle
students composed their own song, and wore red and white
t-shirts.
— Varvara Nika
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