Mathematics Seminar is today

The Grand Rapids Community College Mathematics Department is pleased to announce that it will host its first Mathematics Seminar of 2018 on Thursday, January 18, 3:00-4:00 PM in 103 Cook.

Our speaker, GVSU Mathematics Instructor Michael Santana, will discuss mathematics underlying the sometimes vexing problem of seating arrangements at tables.  For the title and abstract of Michael’s talk, please see below.

Very little mathematics background is needed to appreciate this talk, making it accessible to a wide range of students and faculty.  All are welcome!

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

A graph theory approach to seating people at parties

You’re hosting a party with at least three people, and you want to seat everyone around a large table so that each person is friends with the person on their left and the person on their right. How do you know when you can do this? This seemingly innocent question turns out to be quite difficult to answer! On the other hand, the question becomes (MUCH) easier when you don’t require that everyone be seated at the table (so you’re okay with some people standing around). In this talk we’ll consider both questions (focusing mainly on the second question), look at several extensions of these questions, and see how doing research in mathematics can be like playing the wooden block game, Jenga.



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