2016/2017 Events

Summary report for the 2016/2017 school year

Math Circles 2016/2017 Year End Summary Report

Math Circles events at Dal during the 2016/2017 school year

Below is our schedule for the 2016/2017 school year. Events were 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 21
Speaker: Dr. David Wolfe

Topic: Clock Arithmetic, Pandigital Numbers, Checkerboards, and Fun Proofs
Take the number 123456789. Now double it. Double it again. And again. No, really, try it. See anything strange happen? We'll figure out a way of doing arithmetic on a clock that explains why.
I'll also talk about a counting problem on a checkerboard. The question is, "How many ways can you put checkers on the squares of a checkerboard so that every square (whether it has a checker on it or not) is adjacent to an odd number of checkers?" Here's one way on a 4x4 checkerboard:

Rotating the board gives you 3 more ways. How many ways total are there? You can try other board sizes or even rectangular boards.


October 12
Speaker: Dr. Richard Nowakowski

Topic: The ABCs of Dice, Euclid, Fibonacci and Games
Game 1: To start, choose two positive integers, after that a move is to remove a multiple of the smaller from the larger. The winner is the player who reduces one of the numbers to 0. For most people, knowing how to win involves Fibonacci. We'll show that Euclid knew better.

Game 2: Challenge: I choose a positive integer (heap) less than 100, and you put a 6 sided die (cube) on the table. I start by turning the cube by a quarter turn and take the number showing the top face away from the heap. We alternate turning and taking. The player who cannot move loses. Can you beat me?


November 16
Speaker: Marie B.Langlois

Topic: Continued Fract...
This presentation will go over a fun and useful topic of number theory: continued fractions! We will first go over the basics of GCDs and the Euclidean algorithm. Then we will define continued fractions and use the previous to transform any rational number into one of these. Afterwards, we will see that continued fractions can be used to give a "period" to irrational numbers, and lastly we will use these to solve equations. (p.s. all the terminology used for this blurb will be explained during the presentation.)


December 7
Speaker: Dr. Karl Dilcher

Topic: How did we calculate before there were calculators?
Electronic calculators didn't become widely available until the early to mid-1970s. Before that, it was slide rules and logarithmic tables that played similar roles as do pocket calculators today, at least in high schools and universities.

In this session I will present some of the history of log tables and slide rules, along with some of the underlying theory. We will also do practical examples with actual log tables and with simple paper slide rules. Every participant will receive an old Dalhousie booklet of mathematical tables, including log tables, to take home.


January 18
Speaker: Asmita Sodhi

Topic: Alice's Adventures in Numberland
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, was an Oxford mathematician and the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This children's classic recently celebrated its 150th birthday and is full of the riddles and rhymes (and nonsense!) that Dodgson loved so much, but also more math than you may realize. In this session we'll take a trip with Alice down the rabbit hole and through Wonderland, discovering some of the mathematics hidden there along the way!


February 22
Speaker: Dr. Danielle Cox

Topic: The Mathematics of Spatial Puzzles
Many recreational math problems are spatial problems and puzzles. In this Math Circles we will explore the topic of Topology and try to solve some famous (and not so famous) spatial puzzles.


March 29
Speaker: Dr. Robert Milson

Topic: Proportional Games and Magic Numbers
We will explore the golden ratio and the Fibonacci numbers by playing games and mastering astounding feats of mathematical magic.


April 19
Speaker: Ben Cameron and Marie B.Langlois

Topic: Radical Relay 2017
It's April, which means time for a new Math Circles Relay! We will break into teams and answer challenging questions to move from station to station. If you finish the race you will be rewarded with some bonus questions and prizes for the team with the most points. These problems are hand picked to be challenging and fun, so come ready to think and work together! We have new problems awaiting you this year so that new and previous participants can enjoy the challenges!


May 3
Speaker: Erick Lee (HRSB)

Topic: Money Problems
Do you have money problems? No this isn't a session on financial literacy... we'll be exploring several number theory problems, puzzles and games with a common theme... money! Can you solve the money square? Can you beat your friends at the "Coins in a Row" game? Can you collect more money than the taxman? We'll learn a bit about number theory and problem solving as we tackle these puzzles.


Speaker: Svenja Huntemann

Topic: Numeral Systems
Take a journey that will take you to the very first systems of numerals in ancient civilizations. Learn the needs that lead the Egyptians to develop clever arithmetic methods to fill their everyday needs, the origin of our system for measuring time and much more!


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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