Announcing two special colloquia by distinguished visitors. Both will have a strong mathematics as well as mathematics education focus. I encourage all of you to attend. The talks will be aimed at the undergraduate level so please also encourage your students to attend — especially those interested in education.
Both events will be in Cuneo Hall 311 with refreshments at 4:00 followed by the talk at 4:30.
Thursday November 1
Speaker: Zalman Usiskin, University of Chicago
Director of the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project, and
Recipient of the Mathematics Education Trust Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Title: The Shape of Geometry and the Geometry of Shape
In recent decades, the high school geometry curriculum has been influenced by transformations, coordinates, applications, and technology. Each of these influences can change the way one thinks about geometry as a subject to be taught and learned. In particular, these influences affect the shapes that are studied in geometry and so the "shape of geometry" is related to the "geometry of shape".
Thursday November 15
Speaker: Richard Askey, University of Wisconsin
Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and
Honorary Foreign Member of the Indian Academy of Sciences
Title: The binomial theorem, beta and gamma functions, and some extensions of each.
It is well known that the number of permutations of the set 1,2,...,n is n!. An extension of this where one counts inversions was posed as a problem by M. Stern in 1839. These will be the starting place to build up the binomial theorem, the extension of n! which we now write as the gamma function, the beta integral of John Wallis, Euler's integral representation of the gamma function, and the connection between these three things. This connection will be looked at in two different settings, the classical one which many of you know, and what will be called q-extensions of these classical results into a world which has finally started to come into its own.