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Past MAA Distinguished Lectures

Deanna Haunsperger
6:30 p.m. - April 26, 2018

MAA Carriage House

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

Space is limited. Please click here to RSVP for this lecture.

Abstract:
What do a square-wheeled bicycle, a 17th-century French painting, and the Indiana legislature all have in common? They appear among the many bright stars appearing in Math Horizons. Math Horizons, the undergraduate magazine started by the MAA in 1994, publishes articles to introduce students to the world of mathematics outside the classroom. Some of mathematics’ best expositors have written for MH over the years; here is an idiosyncratic tour of the early years of Horizons.

Biography:
Deanna Haunsperger is MAA president (2017-2018) and Professor of Mathematics at Carleton College, where she has been teaching for over twenty years. She earned her BA in mathematics and computer science from Simpson College and her PhD in mathematics from Northwestern University, focusing on voting theory applications to decision making.

Arthur Benjamin
6:30 p.m. - April 7, 2018

MAA Carriage House

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

Space is limited. Please click here to RSVP for this lecture.

Abstract:
Dr. Arthur Benjamin will amaze you with card tricks based on clever mathematical principles, and share the secrets with you.

Biography:
Arthur Benjamin grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and earned his B.S. at Carnegie Mellon University in 1983 and his PhD in Mathematical Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in 1989. Since then, he has been a Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, California, where he has served as department chair, and co-Editor of Math Horizons magazine, published by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). In 2000, the MAA awarded him the Haimo Prize for Distinguished University Teaching. In 1997, he applied his mathematical talents to the game of backgammon and won the American Backgammon Tour.

Arthur Benjamin is also a professional magician, and frequently performs at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. He is the author of several books, and four DVD courses from The Great Courses series, including "The Joy of Mathematics", "The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles", and "The Secrets of Mental Math". He has demonstrated and explained his calculating talents to audiences all over the world and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, including The Today Show, CNN, National Public Radio, and The Colbert Report. His three TED talks have been viewed over 12 million times. He has been featured in Scientific American, Omni, Discover, People, Esquire, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Reader's Digest. In 2005, Reader's Digest called him "America's Best Math Whiz." In 2017, he was given the Communications Award for Public Outreach by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics.

Aaron Luttman
6:30 p.m. - February 22, 2018

MAA Carriage House

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

Space is limited. Please click here to RSVP for this lecture.

Abstract: Nuclear security is in the news more now than since the earliest days of the cold war, and the rise of new nuclear states and non-state actors attempting to obtain nuclear materials has shifted the way the world views nuclear threats. In this presentation, we will introduce the Stockpile Stewardship and Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation missions of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which comprise one of the largest scientific and R&D enterprises in the world. While the number of mathematicians and statisticians working in nuclear security is dwarfed by the number of physicists, chemists, and engineers, there are still many exciting opportunities for mathematics students to contribute to the most important scientific problems in nuclear security. The NNSA laboratories and sites all maintain vibrant internship programs for undergraduate and graduate students in the mathematical sciences, and we will present the results of some recent student work in the NNSA enterprise as well as provide information on upcoming research opportunities.

Biography: Dr. Aaron Luttman lives in Las Vegas, NV, where he is the manager of the Diagnostic Research and Materials Studies group at the NNSA’s Nevada National Security Site. He oversees a group of 25 physicists, engineers, and mathematicians; manages a nonproliferation research portfolio; and advises several interns and Ph.D. Students each year. Prior to coming to the NNSA research enterprise, Dr. Luttman studied at Purdue University, the University of Minnesota, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), and the University of Montana, where he received his Ph.D. in Mathematics, using image processing techniques to analyze the dynamics of plant respiration.

David Richeson
6:30 p.m. - October 26, 2017

MAA Carriage House

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

Space is limited. Please click here to RSVP for this lecture.

Abstract: "Nothing is impossible!" It is comforting to believe this greeting card sentiment; it is the American dream. Yet there are impossible things, and it is possible to prove that they are so. In this talk we will look at some of the most famous impossibility theorems—the so-called "problems of antiquity." The ancient Greek geometers and future generations of mathematicians tried and failed to square circles, trisect angles, double cubes, and construct regular polygons using only a compass and straightedge. It took two thousand years to prove conclusively that all four of these are mathematically impossible.

Biography: Dave Richeson is Professor of Mathematics at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and the editor of Math Horizons, a magazine published by the Mathematical Association of America. Dave received the MAA's Euler Book Prize for his book, Euler’s Gem: The Polyhedron Formula and the Birth of Topology.

Keith Devlin
6:30 p.m. - October 12, 2017

MAA Carriage House

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

This event is currently sold out. Please click here to get on the wait to attend the lecture.

Abstract: In 2001, Stanford mathematician Keith Devlin set out to research the life and legacy of the thirteenth-century mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, popularly known as Fibonacci. Leonardo introduced the Hindu-Arabic numeral system and arithmetic to the Western world, and thereby helped start a global, social and economic revolution. Devlin recounted Leonardo's story in a 2011 book titled The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci’s Arithmetic Revolution. His new book, Finding Fibonacci is a first-hand account of his experiences in uncovering the story, reconstructed from his project diary and notes, together with stories of three other contemporary scholars who were also motivated to find out about the long-forgotten medieval mathematician who did so much create the world we live in.

Biography: Keith Devlin is a mathematician at Stanford University, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. He has written 33 books and over 80 published research articles. Honors include the Pythagoras Prize, the Peano Prize and the Carl Sagan Award. He writes a monthly blog for the MAA titled Devlin’s Angle, and he is "the math guy" on National Public Radio.

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