2009 Conference Guest Speakers – Talk Abstracts

Laura Taalman, James Madison University

Title: Sudoku: Questions, Variations, and Research
Abstract: Sudoku puzzles and their variants are linked to many mathematical problems involving combinatorics, Latin squares, magic squares, polyominos, symmetries, computer algorithms, the rook problem, graph colorings, and permutation group theory. In this talk we will explore variations of Sudoku and the many open problems and new results in this new field of recreational mathematics. Many of the problems we will discuss are suitable for undergraduate research projects.

Colin Adams (as Sir Randolph Bacon III), Williams College

Title: Blown Away: What Knot to Do When Sailing
Abstract: Being a tale of adventure on the high seas involving great risk to the tale teller, and how an understanding of the mathematical theory of knots saved his bacon. (No nautical or mathematical background assumed.)

Joseph A. Gallian, University of Minnesota at Duluth

Title: Using Mathematics to Create Symmetry Patterns

Abstract: We use video animations to illustrate how mathematics can be used to create computer generated symmetry patterns. Discrete math, exponential functions, logarithms and modular arithmetic are used to transform basic images into symmetry patterns. These methods were used to create the image for the 2003 Mathematics Awareness Month poster.