Student Branden Wilson to present Mathematics Seminar on Jan. 23

The Grand Rapids Community College Mathematics Department is pleased to announce that it will host its first Mathematics Seminar of 2019 on Wednesday, January 23, from 3-4 p.m. in 101 Cook.

Our speaker is GRCC student Branden Wilson.  For the title and abstract of his talk, please see below.

The basic idea behind De Montmort’s Matching Problem:  A number of people attend a party.   Each wears his/her own (different) hat, which is tossed into a dark room.  As people leave the party, they fumble around in the dark, each person taking a randomly chosen hat.   A match occurs when someone is fortunate enough to grab their own hat.  Branden will discuss the probabilities associated with such events.  Participants at this seminar get to play cards and will be rewarded with a surprising appearance of one of the most famous numbers in mathematics.  All are welcome!

Refreshments will be served at 2:45 p.m.

De Montmort’s Matching Problem

Probability theory originated in the analysis of games of chance, beginning with the correspondence of Pascal and Fermat on dividing stakes in games of dice (1654-1660), and continuing with the first book on probability, Huygens’s ‘On Reasoning in Games of Chance’ (1657).   Pierre Raymond de Montmort extended this work in his 1708 ‘Essay on the Analysis of Games of Chance,’ in which he considered probabilities in popular games of cards and dice.  Among the card games he analyzed was Treize (or Recontre).  It is for this analysis that de Montmort’s matching problem is named.  After a few rounds of Treize, I will present a solution to the problem using the inclusion-exclusion principle developed by Nikolas Bernoulli.

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