2019/2020 Events

Summary report for the 2019/2020 school year

Math Circles 2019/2020 Year End Summary Report

Math Circles events at Dal during the 2019/2020 school year

Below is our schedule for the 2019/2020 school year in Dalhousie Campuses at Halifax and Truro.

September 25th (Halifax Campus)
Speaker: Dr. Peter Selinger (Dalhousie University)

Topic: Fun with slide rules

The slide rule, based on an invention by John Napier in the 17th century, was the most important calculation tool for scientists and engineers for almost 350 years. It was still in widespread use in the 1950s and 1960s, but disappeared almost completely after it was replaced by the electronic calculator in the 1970s. In this math circle, you will learn how to use a slide rule to compute multiplications, divisions, roots, powers, and other operations. You will also learn some of the theory behind how a slide rule works. Each participant will assemble their own working slide rule out of materials that will be provided.


October 23rd (Halifax Campus)
Speaker: Dr. Keith Taylor (Dalhousie University)

Topic: Cardinal Sins of the Infinite

The concept of infinity has fascinated people since ancient times. In this math circle, we will carry out a number of activities that naturally involve infinity in some manner. From a practical problem of stacking blocks with maximum overhang off a supporting edge to a totally impractical supernatural tale about a Genie and his pets, we will explore the sometimes surprising consequences of processes repeated infinitely often. Participants should be prepared to do a little arithmetic and some algebra.


November 20th (Halifax Campus)
Speaker: Sarah Meng Li (Dalhousie University)

Topic: Logic and Puzzles

Math is not just computation. Mathematical thinking is a way of observing and understanding the world. Math allows us to see hidden order in real world chaos. This workshop will introduce you to another aspect of Mathematics, logic. We will show you how to use mathematical thinking to solve problems, identify the hidden patterns, and think like a mathematician.

In the first part of the workshop, we will talk about the fundamental building block in mathematics, namely set theory. There will be a buffet of set puzzles for you to investigate sets. We will use Venn diagrams to understand operations on sets and use these diagrams to solve puzzles.

In the second part of the workshop, we will play with logic! Logic is a systematic way of thinking that allows us to parse the meanings of sentences and to deduce new information from old information. We will use logic to distinguish Truth Tellers from Liars, and use logical inferences to play Werewolves.

December 11th (Halifax Campus)
Speaker: Erick Lee (HRCE)

Topic: Prime Time!

In this session we’ll be exploring prime numbers. Do you know to quickly find all the prime numbers from 1 to 100? Do you know why prime numbers are important in computer security? We’ll answer these questions as well as tackle some prime number problems, puzzles and games in a fun and engaging session.


January 22nd (Halifax Campus)
Speaker: Dr. Danielle Cox & Dr. Douglas Whitaker (MSVU)

Topic: SET & Spot It

In this Math Circles we will play & explore the connections between statistics & SET, and examine the mathematics of Spot It! If you have your own game of SET or Spot It, feel free to bring it along to play!


February 26th (Halifax Campus)
Speaker: Dr. Robert Milson (Dalhousie University)

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.


March 25th


April 22nd


May 27th


June 10th (Online Event)
Speaker: Dr. Daniele Turchetti (Dalhousie university)

Topic: Exploring Geometries
Geometry is the branch of mathematics that studies space and everything that connects to it, including shapes, angles, points, dimensions, distances, and much more. Geometers quickly realized that not only there are a lot of interesting shapes, but also (and more surprisingly!) that there is a huge variety of different spaces, with different rules governing them. In this talk, we will explore some weird, fun, interesting spaces that caught the attention of great mathematicians of history such as fractals, hyperbolic surfaces, and finite geometries. At the end, I will propose some activities that you can do with your family to have fun with these spaces too!


Extra activities and resources:

(1) Hyperbolic salads!

(2) A nice artical on Hyperbolic tessellations


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 our team at mathcircles@dal.ca and we will work it into our repertoire.



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