Mathematics - Making Sense of Our World

The MAV 2007 Free Public Lecture Series at Melbourne Museum.
Presented by The Mathematical Association of Victoria in association with The Age and Museum Victoria.

Melbourne Museum
The Age

Mathematics can challenge. Mathematics can enthral. And we need mathematics to help us understand what goes in this World of ours. But what we ordinary mortals need is someone to help us make sense of the mathematics that helps make sense of our World!

Fortunately, right here in Victoria, two World class mathematicians have committed themselves to find ways to explain and explore mathematical issues in an accessible and entertaining way.

Drs Burkard Polster and Marty Ross now have a growing reputation as mathematics communicators and they are back to present the MAV's 2007 Public Lecture Series. These lectures appeal to mathematics buffs, families looking for some fun and something to do together, mathematics teachers looking inspiration and to anyone seeking something to stretch a young mind or two.

MATHEMAGICIAN THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Presented by Dr Burkard Polster
DATE: Sunday, 29 July 2007
VENUE: The Age Theatre, Melbourne Museum
Carlton Gardens, Carlton, Melbourne
Melway reference: 2B J10
TIME: 11:00am to 12:00noon
COST: Free! Note: teachers and students attending the public lectures can also visit the rest of the museum free-of-charge
 

What did Alice really see when she climbed through her mirror? Why do mirrors exchange left and right but not up and down?
Given the choice, why do you want to be a left-handed snail?
Find out the answers to these puzzling questions and why left and right are so important in mathematics, nature and art (and magic, of course).

Listen to the lecture:
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THE JOY OF GAMBLING
Presented by Dr Marty Ross
DATE: Sunday, 5 August 2007
VENUE: The Age Theatre, Melbourne Museum
Carlton Gardens, Carlton, Melbourne
Melway reference: 2B J10
TIME: 11:00am to 12:00noon
COST: Free! Note: teachers and students attending the public lectures can also visit the rest of the museum free-of-charge
 

Casinos are commonly viewed as evil institutions, existing only to rip people off.

We'll show that they are in fact run by benevolent folk, who are always looking for new schemes to give away money.

Listen to the lecture:
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HENRI POINCARÉ'S MILLION DOLLAR PROBLEM
Presented by Dr Marty Ross as a Special National Science Week Presentation
DATE: Sunday, 2 September 2007
VENUE: The Age Theatre, Melbourne Museum
Carlton Gardens, Carlton, Melbourne
Melway reference: 2B J10
TIME: 11:00am to 12:00noon
COST: Free! Note: teachers and students attending the public lectures can also visit the rest of the museum free-of-charge
 

A century ago, Henri Poincaré pondered the nature of weird 3- dimensional worlds. One fundamental question became known as the Poincaré Conjecture.

Many mathematicians tried and failed to solve this Conjecture, until it was finally proved in 2002 by Dr Grigory Perelman. In this talk, we'll describe the Poincaré Conjecture, and we'll explain why mathematicians were willing to pay a million dollars to see it solved.

Listen to the lecture: 
{enclose Poincare.mp3}

THE DARK ART OF NUMBER JUGGLING
Presented by Dr Burkard Polster
DATE: Sunday, 9 September 2007 Purkard juggling
VENUE: The Age Theatre, Melbourne Museum
Carlton Gardens, Carlton, Melbourne
Melway reference: 2B J10
TIME: 11:00am to 12:00noon
COST: Free! Note: teachers and students attending the public lectures can also visit the rest of the museum free-of-charge
 

Sit back and enjoy a gravity-defying juggling performance by the Great Burke. Marvel as he tames the mathematical soul of juggling, and shudder as he forces it to serve his evil ends.

Listen to the lecture:
{enclose Dark-Art-of-number-juggling.mp3}

About the Lecturers:

Burkard and Marty are Melbourne's tag team of mathematics. They do official research on abstract geometry, but their real goal is to have fun with mathematics and to convince others to do so as well. In addition to the public lectures on mathematics at Melbourne Museum, they have also appeared on TV discussing such burning issues as how to balance wobbly tables, and how to lace your shoes.

"These really are world class public lectures. And to make them work for such a diverse audience is a splendid achievement."
Dr Max Stephens, MAV Life Member.

burkard polsterBurkard Polster received his PhD in Pure Mathematics from the University of Erlangen in Germany in 1993, studied and worked at eight universities in Germany, America, New Zealand and Australia and specializes in “fun” mathematics. He is the author of numerous research articles and books, such as “The mathematics of Juggling” and “Q.E.D: Beauty in Mathematical Proof”. Currently, Burkard is a Senior Logan Research Fellow, and Monash University's resident mathematical juggler, origami expert, bubble-master, shoelace charmer, and Count Count impersonator. When he is not doing fun mathematics he has fun investigating perfect mathematical universes.

Marty RossMarty Ross is a mathematical nomad. Despite affecting an American accent, he grew up in Melbourne, completing his HSC at Macleod High School. He then went to ANU and then on Stanford University (where he completed a PhD on the mathematics of soap films). Marty has been a lecturer at Melbourne, Monash and La Trobe Universities and has won teaching awards at Stanford and Rice Universities. His research is in geometric analysis (the use of geometry to study naturally occurring phenomena). Marty has a passionate interest in the teaching of mathematics; he has no formal teaching qualifications, but he hides his ignorance with humour and a loud disdain for jargon.

 

 

For further information contact: Simon Pryor

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