Meghan VanderMale to lead mathematics seminar on September 27

The Grand Rapids Community College Mathematics Department is pleased to announce that it will host its first Mathematics Seminar of 2016-2017 on Tuesday, September 27, 3:00-4:00 PM in 102 Cook.  Our speaker, GRCC mathematics instructor Meghan VanderMale, will discuss the mathematics that underlies a variety of magic tricks.  The title and abstract of her talk are below.

A significant background in mathematics is not necessary to appreciate this talk, so, as always, everyone is welcome to attend.  Join us to enjoy the mathematics of magic and the magic of mathematics!

Pop and cookies will be served at 2:45 PM.

Magical Mathematics

In 1959, when he was 14 years old, Perci Diaconis dropped out of high school to travel with a legendary magician, a slight-of-hand expert.  Where did this bold move lead him? It brought him to the world of mathematics, which he found was the key to being able to improve and create his own magic tricks.  Now Diaconis is a Mathematics and Statistics professor at Stanford University and has teamed up with Ron Graham, former trampolinist and juggler turned mathematician, to write about the mathematical ideas behind magic tricks.  We will be looking at a few of the tricks that they discuss in their book Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas That Animate Great Magic Tricks.  In this talk we will learn about gray code, linear-shift registers, de Bruijn sequences and graphs, and other mathematical ideas behind magic tricks such as Coluria and the Royal Hummer.  Not only will you learn some interesting math, you’ll also learn the secrets of some quite elegant card tricks!  Most of the talk is accessible to anyone, but those interested in computer science and/or advanced algebra will find a few gems in these tricks.

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