Hegeman 308 The purpose of this talk is to explore the interplay between mathematics and physics by taking a closer look at the theory of Electricity and Magnetism. We will start with the normal physicist's formulation of Maxwell's equations and then rewrite them from the perspective of a mathematician. This will allow us to describe what charge is as a mathematical object. We will then give a mathematical generalization of Maxwell's equations motivated by string theory and explore how physical phenomena can inform our understanding of the underlying mathematical structures. This talk should be accessible to anyone who has taken Math 213 or above.Sponsored by: Mathematics Program.
Hegeman 107 In the summer of 2012, two teams of scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland announced that they had discovered the long-awaited Higgs Boson. What is this particle? Why do physicists think is it so important? How was it predicted? How was it discovered? What are the implications to our understanding of matter, energy, and the universe? These and other questions will be addressed as we investigate the fundamental particles and forces that underlie all physical phenomena, culminating in the Higgs discovery and consideration of what might be beyond.Sponsored by: Physics Program.
Hegeman 308 Splines are piecewise polynomial functions that are often used to approximate complicated functions. They arise in various branches of applied mathematics, computer science and engineering. Applications include computer graphics and computer modeling, airplane design, and approximating solutions to partial differential equations. More recently, splines have been studied for their algebraic properties, and their defining equations have been generalized to arbitrary rings.
In this talk, I will describe Integer Splines on a graph, where both the edges and vertices of the graph are labeled with integers. The vertex labeling is called a spline if the difference between vertex labels is divisible by the corresponding edge label. I will report on recent work with Bard students, and open problems for the future.
Prerequisites: Familiarity with Linear Algebra and modular arithmetic is helpful, but not required. Sponsored by: Mathematics Program.
Just For Fun: A Couple of Games and Playful Things
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 3:15 pm
RKC 100 Ramsey Nasser is a computer scientist, game designer, and educator based in Brooklyn. His work explores issues of justice in computing and the role of human culture in coding. He researches programming languages by building tools to make computation more expressive and implementing projects that question the basic assumptions we make about code itself. His games playfully push people out of their comfort zones, and are often built using experimental tools of his design. Ramsey is a former Eyebeam fellow and a professor at schools around New York. When he is not reasoning about abstract unintuitive machines, he goes on long motorcycle trips.Sponsored by: Computer Science Program; Presented by the Big Ideas Initiative in Collaboration with the Bard Teach In.
Hegeman 308 In this talk, we investigate the important question of how many zombies are required to catch and eat a person in an enclosed structure. We model the structure with a graph, and we assume that the person can move much faster than the zombies. The minimum number of zombies required to catch an intelligent person is called the zombie number of the graph. This is a variation on the "cops and robbers" game from graph theory, which can be used to define the treewidth of a graph. We will discuss how the zombie number of a graph relates to the treewidth, and we will determine which graphs have zombie number 1 and 2. This talk will be accessible to anyone who is taking or has taken a 200-level mathematics course.
HOW TO BUILD A GIANT TELESCOPE IN THE DESERT (AND MAKE A WORLD): A FIELD GUIDE
a Film by Katie Detwiler and Anna Niedermeyer
Monday, April 24, 2017 6 pm
Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
The Atacama Desert in northern Chile contains nearly two-thirds of the world’s infrastructure for astronomical data production. In 2012, the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), was under construction. Documenting the extraordinary process of building a radio telescope composed of sixty-six 100-ton antennae, spread out across eighteen kilometers at 16,500 feet in altitude on a plateau in the Chilean Andes-- an anthropologist, a designer, and a camera man spent three weeks filming at ALMA. We will discuss the challenges that emerged in filming and in the subsequent experiments with the collected footage: around the interdisciplinary crafting of narrative; about the limits and possibilities of a range of ethnographic tools; and about the aesthetics of anthropology.
Sponsored by: Anthropology Program; Environmental and Urban Studies Program.
Campus Center, Weis Cinema Empathy, the ability to perceive and be sensitive to the emotional states of others, motivates prosocial and caregiving behaviors, plays a role in inhibiting aggression, and facilitates cooperation between members of a similar social group. This is probably why empathy is often and wrongly confused with morality. Morality refers to prescriptive norms regarding how people should treat one another, including concepts of justice, fairness, and rights. Drawing on empirical research and theory from evolutionary biology, psychology and social neuroscience, I will argue that our sensitivity to others’ needs has been selected in the context of parental care and group living. One corollary of this evolutionary model is that empathy produces social preferences that can conflict with morality. This claim is supported by a wealth of empirical findings in neuroscience and behavioral economics documenting a complex and equivocal relation between empathy, morality and justice. Empathy alone is powerless in the face of rationalization and denial. It is reason that provides the push to widen the circle of empathy from the family and the tribe to humanity as a whole.
Seating Arrangements, Domino Tilings, and Graph Factorials
Amir Barghi, Mathematics Program
Thursday, April 27, 2017 4:45 pm
Hegeman 308 At a dinner party, each guest is assigned a seat along a long table, which seats 12 people. However, when all guests arrive, they decide to change things a little up by swapping seats. In order to minimize the amount of chaos, they have to follow the following three rules: a guest can keep their seat; two guests sitting next to each other or across the table can swap seats; three or more guests can swap seats in a cyclic fashion, provided that each person is moving one seat to the left or to the right or across the table. Assuming that all guests have showed up, how many possible seating rearrangements are there? Now consider the graph on the left. We want to place dominoes along some of the edges of this graph so that each vertex is covered by exactly one domino. We call any such placement of dominoes a domino tiling. How many domino tilings of this graph exits?
In this talk, we will explore the connection between these two problems by defining what the factorial of a graph is.
Prerequisites: A familiarity with graphs and counting arguments is a plus, but not required.Sponsored by: Mathematics Program.