Madison Math Circle Abstracts 2020-2021

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One of the innumerable tragic consequences of the pandemic was that we had no math circle talks during Fall 2020.

Spring 2021
Date Speaker Topic
February 1, 2021 at 5-6pm Connor Simpson Pick's theorem

Pick's theorem relates the area of a polygon whose vertices lie on points of an evenly spaced grid to the number of grid points inside it. We'll do a sequence of examples to discover this theorem, outline a proof, and consider 3-dimensional analogues.

March 1, 2021 at 5-6pm Colin Crowley Fractals and Imaginary numbers

We'll explore some famous mathematical pictures such as the Mandelbrot set and Julius sets, which are examples of what are called fractals. In a quest to understand where these astonishing pictures come from, we will dip our toes into the world of imaginary numbers. While they are vastly complicated and beautiful, these come from simple equations.

April 5, 2021 at 5-6pm Aleksandra (Ola) Sobieska Flipping Pancakes

A waiter delivering pancakes must sort disorganized stacks of pancakes before delivering them to guests, but can only use a spatula to do so. How many flips are necessary? Can we come up with a method that will get him a perfect stack of pancakes every time?

May 3, 2021 at 5-6pm Trevor Leslie We'll give a gentle introduction to the concept of an infinite series of numbers, with a focus on geometric series. As an application, we'll discuss how to find the area of a fractal---the Koch snowflake.

Newsletters for Spring 2021

This semester, we sent out the following Newsletters. These contain announcements, a math video of the week, and some challenge problems to think about.