NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announces its next Brown Bag Lecture will be held on Friday, March 24, when Dr. Elizabeth Hartung, MCLA assistant professor of mathematics, presents “Carbon Molecules and Mathematics.”

This event is free and open to the public. All Brown Bag lectures will take place on a Friday, at 3 p.m., in the campus’s faculty center, Bowman Hall room 121.

According to Hartung, her talk will be aimed at a general audience, and will include science, math, history, and some beautiful pictures. Her research area is chemical graph theory, which uses mathematical models to understand and demonstrate properties of carbon molecules, such as nanotubes and graphene.

“I focus on several parameters that are related to the stability and electrical conductivity of these molecules,” she explained. “I will give an overview of this subfield of mathematical chemistry and my work within it.”

Hartung’s area of specialization in mathematics is graph theory, which models connections between objects. Her research includes collaborations with Jack Graver at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., Aaron Williams at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, as well as students at MCLA, Syracuse University and Simon’s Rock.

“I like that this area of research uses a lot of pure mathematics, but still has applications,” Hartung said. “I also like that researchers from different disciplines – chemistry, computer science, math and physics – all are trying to solve some of these problems with different tools and thought processes. It’s great to go to conferences and talk about different approaches to answering these questions.”

The Brown Bag Lecture Series allows MCLA faculty to present and discuss their scholarly activities, and provides campus and community members opportunities to learn about their interests and research.

The Series will continue on Friday, April 28, with Dr. Karen Cardozo, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies at MCLA.

Hartung earned her master’s degree and her Ph.D. in math from Syracuse University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pa.

In her sixth year at MCLA, Hartung teaches courses across the math major, as well as courses for other majors, such as “Statistics and Discrete Math.” She is the co-coordinator of Community-Based Learning at MCLA, the advisor to the Mathematics Society, and the treasurer of the faculty union. In addition, she is part of a math alignment group that connects high school, college and community college math teachers in the Berkshires.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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