Montana State University

Mathematical modeling to be discussed at Nov. 8 Café Scientifique

October 11, 2017 -- From MSU News Service

Tomas Gedeon wwill discuss mathematical modeling at the next Café Scientifique, set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, in downtown Bozeman. Café Scientifique is hosted by Montana State University’s INBRE and COBRE programs. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

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BOZEMAN – An internationally recognized mathematician will discuss mathematical modeling at the next Café Scientifique, set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, in downtown Bozeman. Café Scientifique is hosted by Montana State University’s INBRE and COBRE programs.

Tomáš Gedeon, a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the College of Letters and Science, will discuss “Malaria, Hurricanes, Climate and Eclipses: How scientists make sense of complex systems and make predictions about the future” at the Baxter Hotel Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

Gedeon’s talk will focus on how researchers use mathematical modeling to simulate and understand complex events taking place in the real world.

“Mathematical modeling helps make sense of complex systems that affect our lives,” he said. “Years in advance, we can predict a solar eclipse to the minute, understand and control disease outbreaks like Ebola and predict future climate scenarios in better detail than ever before.”

Gedeon also plans to trace the roots of mathematical modeling in history.

“People throughout time were striving to develop the language and tools of mathematics and physics to describe and interact with the world,” he said. “This story goes back to the ancient Greeks and beyond, when people began using mathematics to describe the observable world and were able to use it to make successful predictions about future.”

Gedeon will conclude by discussing his views on how mathematical modeling’s predictive capacity might inform areas of public health in years to come.

“The predictive power of mathematical modeling is of real consequence,” he said. “We’re at the point where mathematical modeling is helping to understand cell biology and mechanisms of gene regulation. Since the hallmark of cancer is gene dis-regulation, these insights may eventually save lives.

“There’s a reason why medical schools are requiring students to take more mathematics and statistics courses,” he added. “Doctors of the future will need to be more skilled in translating mathematical and statistical models into real-world diagnosis, interventions and care.”

A native of Slovakia, Gedeon received an undergraduate degree from Comenius University in Bratislava and earned a doctorate in mathematics from Georgia Institute of Technology.

At MSU since 1994, he served from 2012-2015 as a Letters and Science Distinguished Professor – the highest honor the MSU College of Letters and Science bestows upon a faculty member in the college.

Gedeon’s chief research interests involve integrating mathematics with cell biology, neuroscience and biochemistry, as well as mentoring students. Outside of research, he is an avid bicyclist and cross-country skier.

Café Scientifique provides a relaxed setting for people to learn about current scientific topics. The concept started in England in 1998 and has spread to a handful of locations in the United States. Following a short presentation by a scientific expert, the majority of time is reserved for lively conversation, thoughtful questions and respectful dialogue. Refreshments are provided free of charge.

Housed at MSU, Montana INBRE and COBRE are each Institutional Development Award Programs (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant numbers P20GM103474 and GM103500, respectively.

Contact Bill Stadwiser with Montana INBRE at 406-994-3360 or william.stadwiser@montana.edu for more information about the Café Scientifique concept or check the web at http://www.inbre.montana.edu/cafe/index.html.

Contact: Bill Stadwiser, Montana INBRE, 406-994-3360 or william.stadwiser@montana.edu