UNC Asheville Holds Ninth Annual Parsons Lecture
Fri, 03/19/2010 - 9:26am
Noted mathematician Stan Wagon will deliver UNC Asheville’s ninth annual Parsons Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 1, in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium. Wagon’s lecture, “Surprises in Mathematics,” is free and open to the public.
In his talk, Wagon will discuss several surprising assertions from elementary mathematics that seem obviously incorrect, including a square wheel that rolls smoothly, a device that uses a normal rotating crankshaft to drill square holes, a shocking cake puzzle and Benford’s mysterious law of first digits.
Wagon is a professor of mathematics and computer science at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. Wagon has published eight books and more than 100 papers on topics ranging from set theory to numerical analysis. He is a leading expert on the use of Mathematica, a computational software program, which he uses frequently in his work. He has won the Lester R. Ford Award and the Trevor Evans Award for mathematical exposition. His square wheel-bike, which is on permanent display at Macalester College, earned him an entry in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”
Each year, UNC Asheville’s Parsons Lecture showcases well-known mathematicians who are able to explain their field of study to a general audience. The lecture is made possible by an endowment from an alumnus in honor of UNC Asheville Professor Emeritus Joe Parsons, who served in the Mathematics Department from 1952 to 1980.
For more information, call UNC Asheville's Mathematics Department at 828/251-6556.