3/27: Prof. Rob Kusner, Geometric Knots and Links

This week we will have Prof. Kusner speaking on “Geometric Knots and Links” (abstract below). Join us on Wednesday at 5:30 in LGRT 1634 for some great math and pizza.

Abstract: How much “rope” is needed to tie a knot? Are there “Gordian”
unknots or unlinks made of “rope” whose geometry is “stuck” in a
complicated configuration, even though they are topological trivial? We’ll
discuss these and related questions about geometric knots and links,
indicating how the topology of the knot and link becomes an interesting
constraint for the “ropelength” minimization problem.

Prof. Floyd Williams: “Ramanujan-mathematical genius and mathematical mystic”


Join us Wednesday, 3/13, at 5:30 in 1634 for a talk by Prof. Floyd Williams, entitled “Ramanujan-mathematical genius and mathematical mystic”. Abstract appears below; as usual, free pizza and soda will be provided.
Abstract: S.A.Ramanujan,an un-schooled,largely self-taught Indian
clerk,managed to emerge in his brief life span  (of only 33 years )an
epochal,mystical,mathematical genius.His theorems,over 3000 in number,wìth a vast array of mysteriously beautiful,mind-boggling formulas,continue to daze and stupefy the mathematical world.In this lecture we can only attain a small snap-shot of this singular Brahmin soul,where we focus some attention on his work (with G.H.Hardy) on the partition function (which has applications to black hole physics among other things),his formulas for pi,and some exotic integrals.

3/6: Steve Oloo, “The Euler Characteristic. What is it good for?”.

The Undergraduate Math Seminar will meet at its usual time and place. This week, Steve Oloo will speak on: “The Euler Characteristic. What is it good for?” (abstract below). As usual, free
pizza and soda will be provided.


I will remind you of the definition of the Euler characteristic
of a polyhedron and Euler’s famous formula concerning convex polyhedra. We
will then proceed to ask ourselves (and hopefully answer) all manner of
interesting questions like: For what spaces can we define an Euler
characteristic? Is the Euler characteristic a topological invariant? Is it
any good as a topological invariant? What is a topological space anyway?
Wait, why are we talking about graphs now? And, most importantly, how many
pentagons and hexagons do you need to make a soccer ball?