David Richeson is a professor of mathematics at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and editor of Math Horizons. He received a BA in mathematics from Hamilton College (1993) and a PhD in mathematics from Northwestern University (1998). He studies topology, dynamical systems, recreational mathematics, and the history of mathematics. He is the author of Euler’s Gem: The Polyhedron Formula and the Birth of Topology (Princeton University Press, 2008), which received the 2010 Euler Book Prize from the Mathematical Association of America, and Tales of Impossibility: The 2000-Year Quest to Solve the Mathematical Problems of Antiquity (Princeton University Press, 2019).

Plenary

10 October 2019 09:00 AM–09:45 AM

It's comforting to believe this sentiment. Yet there are impossible things, and it is possible to prove that they are so. We will look at some of the most famous impossibility theorems—the "problems of antiquity." The ancient Greek geometers tried and failed to square circles, trisect angles, double cubes, and construct regular polygons using only a compass and straightedge. It took 2000 years to prove conclusively that they are all impossible.

Breakout

10 October 2019 11:00 AM–12:00 PM

Mathematics is more than performing arithmetic calculations, solving for unknown variables, memorizing trigonometric identities, and proving geometric theorems. Mathematics is everywhere. In this workshop, we look at the interesting and deep mathematics behind simple mathematical crafts that participants will create using pencil, paper, scissors, a straightedge, and tape.

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