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Provost Lecture Series: Math professor shares steepest descent method


Dr. Ben Ntatin, associate professor of mathematics, will be the next featured speaker in the Provost Lecture Series at 3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8 in the Morgan University Center, Room 303.

For many people, understanding complex mathematical equations and concepts is more difficult than walking in the mountains. Somehow, however, an Austin Peay State University mathematics faculty member makes the ideas relate.

Dr. Ben Ntatin, associate professor of mathematics, will present the next session in the weekly Provost Lecture Series at 3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8 in the Morgan University Center, Room 303. The title of his presentation is “Walking in the mountains: The steepest descent method.”

His talk will be about how the notion of linearity is fundamental for numerous considerations in mathematics and engineering science.

“In rough terms, if a problem is linear or can be well approximated by a linear model, then there may very well be standard means of approaching it,” he said. “Most physically significant problems can be modeled into partial differential equations, and in the talk, I would demonstrate how such problems could be reduced into a large matrix equation, for which the steepest descent method is appropriate.”

Ntatin has taught at APSU since 2007 and has been instrumental in revitalizing calculus courses. The chair of the mathematics section of the Middle Tennessee Academy of Mathematics, he has presented at several conferences, meetings and workshops. He earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum in Bochum, Germany, a master’s in mathematics from the University of Ilorin in Ilorin, Nigeria, and a bacehlor’s in mathematics from the University of Jos in Jos, Nigeria.

Other sessions in the Provost Lecture Series also are planned for the academic year. All sessions are from 3-4:30 p.m. in the MUC, Room 303 (unless noted otherwise) and include the following:

Sept. 15: Dr. Donald Luck, professor of education

Sept. 22: Dr. Clark Maddux, associate professor of English

Sept. 29: Dr. Rebecca Jones, associate professor of chemistry

Oct. 6: Dr. Dwayne Estes, associate professor of biology

Oct. 13: Dr. Korre Foster, assistant professor of music

Oct. 20: Susan Bryant, professor of art

Oct. 27: Angelina Fowler, Center of Excellence for Field Biology

Nov. 3: Dr. Dan Frederick, professor of geology and geography

Nov. 10: Dr. Kathrine Flower, assistant professor of sociology

Nov. 17: Darren Michael, associate professor of theater and dance

Dec. 1: Dr. Tim Leszczak, assistant professor of health and human performance

Jan. 12: Dr. Ellen Smyth, instructor of mathematics

Jan. 19: Dr. Ann Silverberg, professor of music

Jan. 26: Dr. Marsha Lyle-Gonga, assistant professor of political science

Feb. 2: Dr. Rebecca Johansen, assistant professor of biology

Feb. 9: Dr. Sergei Markov, associate professor of biology

Feb. 16: Cynthia Marsh, professor of art

Feb. 23: Dr. Christine Mathenge, associate professor of geology

March 1: Dr. Robert Shelton, associate professor of chemistry

March 15, MUC 307: Dr. Allyn Smith, associate professor of physics

March 22: Dr. Sharon Mabry, professor of music

March 29: Dr. Cameron Sutt, assistant professor of history

April 5: Mark DeYoung, assistant professor of art

April 12: Dr. Tim Winters, professor of English

April 19, MUC 103: Dr. Jeffrey Wood, professor of music

The Provost Lecture Series seeks to foster a spirit of intellectual and scholarly inquiry among faculty, staff and students. The program will be used as a platform for APSU faculty members who are recent recipients of provost summer grants, who have been awarded faculty development leaves and who have engaged in recent scholarly inquiry during sabbatical leaves.

APSU faculty members with recent research of acclaim also will be given a platform within this series. In addition, other faculty members of local or widespread renown will be invited to lecture within this series.

For more information about the Provost Lecture Series, call Dr. Brian Johnson, assistant vice president of academic affairs at APSU, at (931) 221-7992 or email him at -- Melony Shemberger