New math lectureship at Tabor set for this week


John McCammond will be the first Brenneman lecturer.

How can a mathematician state with certainty, ?There are only 17 types of wallpaper??

That question and other mathematical premises will be at the heart of a two-part presentation by Jon McCammond, professor of mathematics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the inaugural Frank S. Brenneman Endowed Lectureship in Mathematics on the Tabor College campus Thursday and Friday, April 24.

McCammond will present two lectures in Room 103 at the Solomon L. Loewen Science Center: ?Repetition and Insight? at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 23, and ?Symmetry and Abstraction? at 11 a.m. Friday, April 24. The public is invited to attend both lectures.

?Repetition and Insight? will focus on a connected set of surprises and insights that arise through simple repetition and iteration: punching the [cos] button repeatedly on a calculator, continued fractions — along with their connections to the golden ratio and the Fibonacci numbers, and continued square roots, with some mentions of Ramanujan, Chebyshev polynomials, and the Mandelbrot set.

About this lecture, McCammond said, ?Generally speaking, describing what mathematicians do to non-mathematicians can be a bit challenging since the things we study are seemingly far from everyday experience. Even those with a bit of calculus under their belt are unprepared for the strange world that opens up after calculus.?

Non-mathematicians as well as mathematicians will be intrigued by ?Symmetry and Abstraction.? McCammond said, ?This talk will discuss what mathematicians see when they look at a symmetric object, how they abstract out a situation?s essence and what one could possibly mean by the statement, ?There are only 17 types of wallpaper.??

McCammond graduated from Bethel College in 1988 with the B.A. in mathematics, B.S. in physics, and B.A. in German, and he received a doctorate in mathematics from UC-Berkeley in 1991.

The Frank S. Brenneman Endowed Lectureship was announced upon his retirement last spring following a remarkable 34-year tenure at Tabor College. It was established through a fund created by two of his former students, Brian Wiens, and his son, William Brenneman.

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