For many, math is cold, lifeless, and meaningless; a bunch of rules to follow; a way to separate people rather than a way to bring them together. It’s no wonder that many have anxiety over their math experiences. Francis Su, Professor Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, is advancing a different vision: that math is intimately tied to what it means to be a human being and live a more fully human life. Thus, math meets basic human desires that we all share, and it builds virtues that serve you well no matter where your life takes you. Su will share the story of a prison inmate who has helped me see this more clearly than ever before.
Francis Su studies the application of combinatorics, geometry, and topology to problems in the social sciences. One example is the subject of “fair division”: developing usable algorithms for dividing assets or liabilities fairly among several people, so that each is satisfied. This research was picked up in a news story by the New York Times. Other recent research includes applications of convex geometry to the study of voting problems.
All are welcome. Sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa and the Department of Mathematics/Statistics. If possible, let Steve Miller know you’re coming so we have enough pizza!