Events
Fall 2008

August 27 -- Mathematics Readiness Exam
1:30 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. in King 106

 September 11 -- Student/Faculty Luncheon "Chaotic Chomp" James Walsh --Department of Mathematics 12:15 - Wilder 115 Come here about a recent and fascinating analysis of a combinatorial game (Chomp!) with dynamical systems techniques (Chaos!)

 October 2 -- Student/Faculty Luncheon "Bagatelle in A Minus B" Robert Young -- Department of Mathematics 12:15 - Wilder 115 Can anything serious be said about the binomial expansion of (A-B)2?

 October 13 -- Lecture "Beyond Swinging:Hinged Dissections that Twist or Fold" Greg Frederickson - Purdue University Department of Computer Science 4:30 - King 239 A geometric dissection is a cutting of a geometric figure into pieces that can be rearranged to form another figure. As visual demonstrations of relationships such as the Pythagorean theorem, dissections have had a surprisingly rich history, reaching back to Persian and Islamic mathematicians a millennium ago and Greek mathematicians more than two millennia ago. Some dissections can be connected with hinges so that the pieces form one figure when swung one way on the hinges, and form the other figure when swung another way. These dissections have remained as magical as when the English puzzlist Henry Dudeney first exhibited a hinged dissection of an equilateral triangle to a square a century ago. In addition to using "swing hinges", which allow rotation in the plane, we can use "twist hinges", which allow one piece to be flipped over relative to another piece via rotation by 180 degrees through a third dimension, and also "piano hinges", which allow rotation along a shared edge, a motion that is akin to folding. This talk will introduce a variety of twist-hinged and piano-hinged dissections of regular polygons and stars, with symmetrical figures such as a Latin Cross and a W-pentomino included too. The emphasis will be on both appreciating and understanding these fascinating mathematical recreations. I will employ tessellation-based techniques, as well as symmetry and other geometric properties, to design the dissections. The natural goal will be to minimize the number of pieces, subject to the dissection being suitably hinged. Animations and video will be used to demonstrate the hinged dissections.

 November 6 -- Student/Faculty Luncheon "How to tell if your knot is being knotty" Allison Henrich -- Department of Mathematics 12:15 - Wilder 115 We will learn about the mathematical theory of knots. We’ll think about how to tell the difference between a knotted knot and an unknotted knot. Bringing rope, shoelaces, old-fashioned telephone cords, guitar strings and/or Red Vines to the talk is encouraged!

 November 12 -- Lecture A "Perfect" Introduction to Algebraic Coding Theory and Search for Good Codes. Noah Aydin -- Kenyon College 4:30 - King 239 The theory of error correcting codes is concerned with the reliability of digital communication over noisy channels. The theory has found a wide range of applications from deep space communication to quality of sound in compact discs. A lot of tools from algebra can be used to design efficient codes. This talk gives an introduction to the subject, describes one of the main problems in the field, and some of our contributions (some with Kenyon undergraduates).

 December 2 -- Student/Faculty Luncheon "Big Numbers and Fast-growing Functions." Tristram Bogart '01 - Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Queen's University. 12:15 - Wilder 115

Updated: November 5, 2008