Schedule of Talks for the 2016-2017 Academic Year
Date: Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Speaker: Prof. Jim Tattersall
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Providence College
Email: tat AT providence DOT edu
Title: Surfing the Educational Times
Abstract: The Educational Times was a pedagogical journal that began publication in 1847. A year later, it became the official publication of the College of Preceptors, a London-based educational institution whose goals included educating the middle class, providing necessary benefits to educators, and qualifying teachers. The journal contained a column devoted to mathematical problems and their solutions intended to challenge and educate its readers. A number of notable mathematicians as well as recreational mathematicians were contributors. By 1918 when the column ceased publication, over eighteen thousand problems had been posed. We discuss the contributors and their contributions.
Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Speaker: Prof. Maritza Branker
Department of Mathematics
Niagara University
mbranker AT niagara DOT edu
Title: Complex Numbers through the eyes of Cauchy and Hamilton
Abstract: [Rescheduled to March 7, 2018]
Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Speaker: Prof. John McCleary
Department of Mathematics
Vassar College
Email: mccleary AT vassar DOT edu
Title: Max Dehn and Hilbert's Third Problem
Abstract: After finishing a thesis on the foundations of geometry under Hilbert, Max Dehn tackled Hilbert's Third Problem. This problem asks for an evaluation of the effectiveness of scissors congruence as a theory of volume of polytopes in space. The problem was not unknown at the time, and Dehn refers to two papers in his solution. In this talk I will discuss the problem of scissors congruence, the run up to Dehn's solution and its impact. This project is part of a book length evaluation of Dehn's life and career led by Marjorie Senechal and David Rowe. I will mention some further bits of Dehn's career to whet your appetite for the project.