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September 2006

Saturday September 16, 2006
Location: RLM 4.102 (On the UT campus)
Group Leader: Dr. Jessica Purcell
Topic: Topology/Geometry
Title: Geometry out of the Paper: An Introduction to Manifolds
Poster: Click here for the poster.

A tiny bug living on a beach ball might think its world is flat, like paper on a desk. In fact, it is a sphere. A sphere is one example of what mathematicians call a manifold. We will learn what manifolds are, and build some of our own. We will also find some ways of telling different manifolds apart -- perhaps enough to help the bug realize it's on a beach ball, or help us see why the surface of the earth might be a sphere. However, not even scientists and mathematicians know what manifold our universe is!

Here is a link to the PowerPoint presentation.
Check out some pictures from the meeting, too!

Click here to find out about the world's largest glass Klein bottle.

October 2006

Saturday October 14, 2006
Location: RLM 4.102 (On the UT campus)
Group Leader: Dr. Michael Starbird
Topic: Geometry
Title: Circles, Rings, and Tractors: Clever Cleaving for Finding Formulas
Poster: Click here for the poster.

How do we find formulas for the areas of circles, rings, and more exotic objects? Often, an effective strategy involves dividing the object into small pieces and seeing how the small pieces can be re-assembled to produce an object whose volume or area is easier to compute. Cutting up works.

This is the activity sheet we used during our meeting.
And here is a link to Mamikon's website that has some interesting links, including some of the animations we showed during the talk. Find some more of his puzzles and interesting links here.

Pictures from the meeting are in - you can see them here.

November 2006

Saturday November 4, 2006
Location: RLM 4.102 (On the UT campus)
Group Leader: Dr. Irene Gamba
Topic: Statistical Mechanics
Title: On billiards and time irreversibility... the legacy of Ludwig Boltzmann
Poster: Click here for the poster.

We will investigate how Mathematics and Physics come together in the foundations of classical statistical mechanics.

We will soon post the slides of Dr. Gamba's presentation.

In the second half of the meeting we devoted some time to exploring the Galton Board, sometimes called the Quincunx, a little further.
Here is a link to an online animation, and here is another one. Have fun trying them out! See what happens if you change the different parameters.

Also check out some neat facts and problems dealing with probabilities in the handout and, of course, look at the photos.

December 2006

Saturday December 2, 2006
Location: RLM 4.102 (On the UT campus)
Group Leader: Dr. Edward Burger
Topic: Number Theory
Title: "Discovering Beautiful Patterns in Nature and Number"
Poster: Click here for the poster.

Here we will discover some of the amazing structure in nature's flowers and apply our observations to find beautiful patterns in mathematics.

We will not only discover a fantastic sequence of numbers, uncover the most attractive rectangle ever and possibly the most attractive number, but we will also learn a fun game with a number-theory secret!

Click here to read a bio of this speaker.

Katja Mallmann -