The first talk, "Playing Penrose's Tile Game," will be presented by Austin on Thursday, September 21, at 7 p.m. in Loutit Lecture Hall, 102 Henry Hall on the Allendale Campus.
As students are continually being encouraged to take more mathematics classes, they and their parents are naturally asking why mathematics is so important. The point of this lecture series is to present mathematics from an intuitive perspective and to show the kind of thinking that goes into discovering new mathematics.
"In particular, we want the audience to understand that mathematical ideas come from somewhere, that they are continually being discovered, and that the discoveries are useful in a wide range of areas in our society," said Austin. We also want people to understand that there is an aesthetic quality to mathematical thinking that is pleasurable and even inspiring."
To do this, they plan to present mathematics in a visual way through the use of images. It's possible that there will not be a single equation over the course of the four talks presented this fall and next spring. Future talks include:
- October 19, "Chaos Games and Fractal Images" by Bob Devaney, Boston University Department of Mathematics
- February 8, "Fibonacci's Garden" by Matt Boelkins, GVSU Department of Mathematics
- April 12, "Mathematics in Stone and Bronze" by mathematical sculptors Claire and Helaman Ferguson.
"We hope to make the subject accessible to a diverse audience composed of people whose mathematical background may be limited," said Austin. "We also encourage high school teachers and students to attend."
For more information contact David Austin at (616) 331-3431.