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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.

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

Upcoming Lectures

Dummy View - NOT TO BE DELETED

Jason Rosenhouse
6:30 p.m. - November 29, 2018

MAA Carriage House

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

Please click here to RSVP for the lecture.

Abstract:
The hardest logic puzzle ever was introduced by philosopher George Boolos in 1996. We are to imagine three gods: one who always makes true statements, one who only makes false statements, and one who randomly answers true or false at his whim. The gods will answer any yes/no question that is put to them, but they will answer in their own language, in which the words for yes and no are da and ja, in some order. Sadly, you do not now which word means what. Your task is to determine who is who in just three questions. The puzzle has spawned a veritable industry of journal articles, in which authors present ever more ingenious solutions, and ever more fiendishly difficult variations. We will discuss the various approaches to this puzzle and its variations. Along the way we will consider aspects of the history of logic, focusing especially on puzzle masters like Lewis Carroll and Raymond Smullyan.

Biography:
Jason Rosenhouse received his PhD in mathematics from Dartmouth College in 2000, specializing in algebraic graph theory. Currently he is a professor of mathematics at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He is the author or editor of seven books including The Monty Hall Problem: The Remarkable Story of Math's Most Contentious Brainteaser, and Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionary Front Line, both published by Oxford University Press. With Laura Taalman he is the author of Taking Sudoku Seriously: The Math Behind the World's Most Popular Pencil Puzzle, which received the 2012 PROSE award from the Association of American Publishers for the best popular math or science book of the year. When not doing math he enjoys playing chess, cooking, and reading locked-room mysteries.

Matt Parker
6:30 p.m. - December 12, 2018

MAA Carriage House

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

Please click here to RSVP for the lecture.

Abstract:
Mathematics is full of fascinating patterns and surprise results. As well as offering insights into the world around us. But yet many people consider math to be boring, tedious, both, or worse. This is normally rooted in a memory of their time being forced to learn math at school. So how can mathematicians present the subject they love so that other people will enjoy it as much as they do? Matt will demonstrate some of his favourite bits of mathematics and talk about how he uses stand-up comedy to engage people in math.

Matt has toured worldwide doing comedy shows which are actually math lectures in disguise. He is the first person to use an overhead projector on-stage at the Hammersmith Apollo since Pink Floyd. Somehow a subject people claim to hate is proving to be a crowd pleaser.

Biography:
Matt Parker is a stand-up comedian and mathematician. He appears regularly on TV and online: as well as being a presenter on the Discovery Channel his YouTube videos have been viewed over 37 million times. Previously a high-school math teacher, Matt visits schools to talk to students about math as part of Think Maths and he is involved in the Maths Inspiration shows. In his remaining free time, Matt wrote the books Things To Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension and Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors. He is also the Public Engagement in Mathematics Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.