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MAA Distinguished Lecture Series

The MAA sponsors a variety of public lectures, many of them held at the MAA Carriage House. Whether a Gathering 4 Gardner event or one of the federally funded Distinguished Lecture Series, the lectures feature some of the foremost experts within the field of mathematics, known for their ability to make current mathematical ideas accessible to non-specialists. The presentations provide a fabulous and fun learning opportunity for both professionals and students, as well as anyone interested in learning more about current trends in mathematics and the relationship between mathematics and broader scientific, engineering and technological endeavors.

Abstracts and speaker biographies will appear on this page as lectures are added to the events calendar.

Upcoming Lectures


Visualizing Hyperbolic Geometry

Evelyn Lamb
6:30 PM - September 15, 2016

MAA Carriage House

1781 Church St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036


Abstract: For two thousand years, mathematicians tried to prove that Euclidean geometry, the geometry you probably learned in high school, was all there was. But it's not! In the early nineteenth century, János Bolyai and Nikolai Lobachevsky independently discovered that by tweaking one of Euclid's postulates, geometry can look totally different. We will explore the rich world of hyperbolic geometry, one of the new and beautiful systems of geometry that results from this tweak. Our guides on the adventure will be mathematically inspired artists and artistically inspired mathematicians, including M.C. Escher, Daina Taimina, and Henry Segerman.

Bio: Dr. Evelyn Lamb is a freelance math and science writer based in Salt Lake City. She earned her Ph.D. in mathematics at Rice University in 2012 and taught at the University of Utah until 2015. She began her science writing career in 2012 with a AAAS-AMS mass media fellowship at Scientific American. It was love at first blog post, and she has been making mathematical concepts fun and accessible to a general audience ever since. In addition to math, she loves music, sewing, and the outdoors. Dr. Lamb has written for outlets including Scientific American, Slate, Nature News, and the American Mathematical Society. Her blog Roots of Unity is hosted on the Scientific American blog network, and she coauthors the Blog on Math Blogs for the AMS. Follow her on Twitter: @evelynjlamb.



Gems of Ramanujan and their Lasting Impact on Mathematics

Ken Ono
6:30 PM - October 13, 2016

MAA Carriage House

1781 Church St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036


Abstract: Ramanujan's work has has a truly transformative effect on modern mathematics, and continues to do so as we understand further lines from his letters and notebooks. In this lecture, some of the studies of Ramanujan that are most accessible to the general public will be presented and how Ramanujan's findings fundamentally changed modern mathematics, and also influenced the lecturer's work, will be discussed. The speaker is an Associate Producer of the film The Man Who Knew Infinity (starring Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons) about Ramanujan. He will share several clips from the film in the lecture.

Bio: Ken Ono is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics at Emory University. He is considered to be an expert in the theory of integer partitions and modular forms. He has been invited to speak to audiences all over North America, Asia and Europe. His contributions include several monographs and over 150 research and popular articles in number theory, combinatorics and algebra. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA and has received many awards for his research in number theory, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Packard Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship. He was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE) by Bill Clinton in 2000 and he was named the National Science Foundation’s Distinguished Teaching Scholar in 2005. In addition to being a thesis advisor and postdoctoral mentor, he has also mentored dozens of undergraduates and high school students. He serves as Editor-in-Chief for several journals and is an editor of The Ramanujan Journal. Visit his web page at


Slidecasts and video clips of MAA public lectures are available here.

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