Math Club

– This Week –

The mathematics of déjà vu
Dynamics is an area of mathematics concerned with the motion of spaces ("dynamical systems") over time. Dynamics has its roots in the late nineteenth century, when it was developed as a tool to understand physical phenomena, such as the motion of gas molecules in a box and planets around the sun.

A simple and yet powerful concept in dynamics is that of recurrence. In everyday language, recurrence is the mathematical version of déjà vu: a motion of a space is recurrent if, given enough time, it eventually returns to its original configuration (allowing for a small amount of error).

In this talk, we will see how mathematical results about recurrence can be used to answer surprisingly disparate questions, from the mixing and unmixing of two ideal gases in a box, to deep properties of the prime numbers, to the discovery of exoplanets in nearby solar systems.

Welcome to the Math Club home page!

The math club meets once a week in the Winter term, on Thursday evenings for about an hour. It is intended for anyone interested in mathematics, whether they are a math major or not.

At each meeting a speaker will discuss an interesting idea in mathematics. We try to pick topics that can be understood without much background. An ideal topic is one which starts with something simple, and by exploring its twists and turns, leads to something unexpectedly deeper.

The goal is to show mathematics the way that mathematicians see it: a living subject full of deep and intertwining ideas, growing naturally out of our desire to understand the fundamental concepts of space and number.

  Date Topic Speaker
Jan. 25   Stirling's Formula M. Ram Murty
Feb. 1   The sum of the cubes is the square of the sum Peter Taylor
8   The Empty Set Greg Smith
15   The Metropolis-Hastings Algorithm Mike Roth
Mar. 1   The Fifteen Theorem Ivan Dimitrov
8   Why you shouldn't peel a high-dimensional orange Francesco Cellarosi
15   Realistic Expectations Greg Smith
22   Knot Invariants by Pulling Strings Tianyuan Xu
29   Paradoxical Probabilities Jamie Mingo
Apr. 5   The mathematics of déjà vu Amie Wilkinson (Chicago)

The meetings are Thursdays in Jeff 118 from 17:30–18:30.

To suggest a topic for the Math Club, or to find out further information, please email Ivan Dimitrov, Mike Roth, or Greg Smith .

Web Site of the Week
Check out Quanta Magazine; an online science magazine specializing in Mathematics, Physics, and the Life Sciences.