Math Department Colloquia and Video Series

The Math Department Colloquia are a series of talks intended for a general audience. Everyone is encouraged to attend and the talks are directed at people who have a reasonable comprehension of the topics in undergraduate mathematics. Come meet our undergraduates, graduate students and faculty as well as our distinguished guest speakers.

For Spring 1999, our colloquia are generally going to be Thursdays at 2:10-3pm. There will be refreshements beforehand.

Title: Truth and Provability

Speaker: Dr. Douglas Burke, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Friday, May 7th 1:10-2pm in S143

Abstract: A mathematical statement is independent (of some collection of axioms) if the statement is neither provable nor refutable (from the axioms). In 1930 Godel shocked the mathematical and logical worlds by proving, under very mild conditions, that independent statements exist. This proof completely disrupted the traditional view of truth and falsehood in an axiomatic system- previously, the assumption was that mathematical statements were either provably true or provably false within that system. With the existence of independent statements first demonstrated by very contrived statments, an obvious question is whether or not there are naturally-occuring independent statements. After Cohen's discovery of forcing in 1963, many natural mathematical problems have been found to be independent. We will present some examples of independence in cardinal arithmetic, and give some recent, surprising theorems in cardinal arithmetic, due to Shelah.

Title: Some Elliptical Thoughts

Speaker: Don Charkerian, UC Davis Mathematics Dept

Thursday, Mar 25, 2:10pm in S143

Abstract: We consider some elementary properties of ellipses that are not well know and perhaps deserve wider publicity.

Dr. Chakerian has won national distinguished teaching awards and is known for excellent exposition. His wide body of mathematical reasearch on convex geometry includes many simple, elegant solutions to classical problems.

Video: NOVA: The Man who Loved Numbers

Thursday, Feb 4, 2:10pm in PB 390

This NOVA documentary describes the life and work of Srinvasa Ramanujan, a remarkable mathematical prodigy who did important and surprising work in a number of fields, particularly number theory, early in this century. His highly original and unusual genius has prompted the title.

Video: The Mathematics of Juggling.

Thursday, Feb 11, 2:10pm in PB 390

Ron Graham, an internationally recognized mathematician and computer scientist is also a world-class juggler. One of his great contributions to the overall field of juggling was to devise an efficient notation for representing various patterns. In this video, he describes and demonstrates his mathematical approach to juggling. There will be juggling balls available for those who want to follow along!

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