2013/2014 Events

Summary report for the 2013/2014 school year

The following is a summary report for the 2013/2014 school year of NS Math Circles. We are excited to share with you our journeys to school boards around the province. This year we visited many new schools and returned to schools which we visited previously, even went to junior high and some elementary schools!

Math Circles 2013/2014 Year End Summary Report

Math Circles events at Dal during the 2013/2014 school year

Here is our schedule for the 2013/2014 school year. Events are held from 5:30-7:30pm in the Chase Building, Room 119 (Student Learning Centre) of Dalhousie University, with pizza served at each event.

September 25
Speaker: Svenja Huntemann

Topic: A History of Problem Solving
Join us while we take a stroll through some of the most influential and interesting problems throughout history. We will see if we can solve some of them on our own!


October 23
Speakers: Julien Ross & Danielle Cox

Topic: Games on Graphs
Join us for an evening of games! We will look at various games on graphs, such as Cops & Robbers. We will see if we can use some graph theory and pattern finding to figure out if we can win the games and how we can win!


November 20
Speaker: Elham Roshanbin

Topic: Problems in Number Theory!
In this talk we will explore the subject of Number Theory!
Primes, cryptography, divisibility...we will explore famous and interesting problems in this topic!


December 11
Speaker: Dr. John Grant McLoughlin (UNB Fredericton)

Topic: A Sequence of Problems
Whether is is the way we arrange objects, the manner in which a set of numbers is organized, sequences are fundamental to mathematical organization and problem solving.  Join us to play with a range of problems focused around the theme of sequences with diversions into mathematical puzzles, factorials, geometric/arithmetic series, along with some curious insights about less familiar mathematical sequences.  Be prepared to do some mathematical thinking and problem solving as the emphasis will be on learning through doing math.
John McLoughlin is a professor of mathematics education at University of New Brunswick who holds an adjunct appointment at Dalhousie. John has been recently honoured by the Canadian Mathematical Society as the 2013 recipient of the Adrien Pouliot Award for his mathematical outreach efforts.


January 15
Speaker: Alain Gamache

Topic: Taxicab Geometry
Most of us have learned to measure things in a two dimensional environment using the "as crows fly" method. But what happens if we remove that freedom and force you to only measure horizontally and vertically? This is the idea behind Taxicab geometry, a fun and simple way to approach non-Euclidian geometry. Join us for an evening of hands-on activities designed to revisit some concepts that we took for granted!


February 12
Speaker: Danielle Cox

Topic: Mathematical Deception - A look at mathematical optical illusions, puzzles, and paradoxes
Explore famous paradoxes, riddles and math problems that have surprising answers.


April 2
Speaker: Dr. Paul Muir (Saint Mary's University)

Topic: A Brief Introduction to Computational Applied Mathematics
Mathematics is useful! Mathematics is applied most everywhere; examples include weather prediction, global positioning systems (GPS), medical imaging, and financial modeling. Most applications lead to mathematical models; these are systems of equations whose solutions tell us something about the application. Most mathematical models are too complex or too large or both and therefore computers have to be used to obtain an approximate solution to the equations. The study of methods that allow computers to solve mathematical problems is called Computational Mathematics or Numerical Analysis. In this session, we will learn about a few famous algorithms from computational mathematics and use them to obtain approximate solutions to some mathematical models arising in several applications. Please bring a calculator as some hands-on exercises exploring the use of numerical algorithms will be included!


April 30
Speaker: Dr. John McLoughlin (UNB Fredericton)

Topic: Problem Solving with Probability
Join us for an evening of probability. How can something with an answer from 0 to 1 be so intriguing? We will open with a few problems to introduce core probability principles before stepping onto the playing field of probability. Whether tossing two headed coins or people randomly arriving at a coffee shop or figuring out the chance of winning a tennis match after a rain delay, be prepared to play with probability. All are welcome from total novices to those relatively familiar with the core concepts. A range of levels will be shared in the problems, and some of the ideas will surely be new to all present as a way of extending your own mathematical horizons. Enjoying mathematics and solving probability problems are not mutually exclusive!


May 21
Speaker: Dr. Nauzer Kalyaniwalla (CS Dept, Dalhousie)

Topic: Cryptography on the Internet: Or How to keep Secrets Safe
Imagine a universe with a largest integer, where you can multiply, but can not divide. Addition in this univerise follows the rules of 'clock' arithmetic. In such a universe there exists functions that are easy to compute from given input. But finding the input from a computed function is beyond computational reach. However, there is a trapdoor! A secret key allows the input to be found trivially. This means that anyone can encrypt a secret message, but only the intended recipient can decrypt the message. This application of number theory has widespread use on the internet. Please bring a calculator, it may be useful for this session.


June 11
Speaker: Dr. Thomas Duck (Physics & Atmospheric Science Dept, Dalhousie)

Topic: Games of Chance (or Why the House Always Wins)
Games of chance like shooting dice, blackjack, roulette, poker, slot machines and the lottery are ruled by math. We will play some of these for fun, and learn how the calculation of odds, probabilities, and “expectation values” can be used to assess risk versus reward. The results will show how the House (almost) always has an edge, ensuring that over the long term they win and gamblers lose.


Topic Ideas?

If you have a request for topics, please contact us. If you have a topic or idea that appeals to you, let us help you explore it! Email us at mathcircles@dal.ca and we will work it into our repertoire.



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