Mathematics Seminar to be held October 26

The Grand Rapids Community College Mathematics Department is pleased to announce that it will host its next Mathematics Seminar on Wednesday, October 26, 3:00-4:00 PM in 107 Cook.  Our speaker, GRCC mathematics instructor John Dersch, will discuss sums, both finite and infinite, and a variety of related ideas.  The title and abstract are below.

Much of this talk will be accessible to those with very little background in mathematics, and nearly all of it requires nothing at a level higher than a basic understanding of logarithms.  As always, everyone is welcome!

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

Some Sums

In the process of preparing assignments for a Precalculus course, Professor Dersch encountered a pair of intriguing problems.  Their ultimate purpose was this: If you keep adding the numbers 1+ 1/2 +1/3 + 1/4 + 1/5 + 1/6 + …, how many must you add to exceed a given number?  Professor Dersch’s talk will range over a variety of topics related to this question, including sums, infinite series, logarithms, prime numbers, twin primes, factorials and the Gamma function, history, physics, music, the Black Death and a #1 hit from the late ’60s.

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