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IMA Public Lectures

The IMA Public Lectures are free and open to the public.


Arnold Family Lecture

Chaotic elections: why don't we elect who voters really want?
7:00pm, Tuesday, September 22, 2009
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Donald G. Saari, distinguished professor, mathematics and economics, University of California-Irvine

Minnesota voters can appreciate the many troubling events associated with elections. Far more serious things can go wrong in the voting process, but most of us do not know how to look for them. The speaker exposes the many surprising problems that can occur in elections and explains how they are uncovered through the power of mathematics. Expect to leave this lecture troubled about whether the "right person" won in a recent election of importance to you.

The Arnold Family Lecture series is endowed by a generous gift from the Arnold Family Foundation.

The shape of space
7:00pm, Thursday, November 12, 2009, Willey Hall 175
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Jeffrey Weeks, freelance mathematician

When we look out on a clear night, the universe seems infinite. Yet this infinity might be an illusion. During the first half of the presentation, computer games will introduce the concept of a "multiconnected universe." Interactive 3D graphics will then take the viewer on a tour of several possible shapes for space. Finally, we'll see how recent satellite data provide tantalizing clues to the true shape of our universe. The only prerequisites for this talk are curiosity and imagination. For middle school and high school students, people interested in astronomy, and all members of the university and surrounding communities.

From flapping birds to space telescopes: the math of origami
7:00pm, Tuesday, February 9, 2010, Willey Hall 175
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Robert J. Lang, artist and consultant

The principles of origami, the centuries-old Japanese art of paper-folding, can be used to solve a wide range of folding problems, from how to compress an airbag into a steering wheel to how to design complex folding telescopes. These math-based origami concepts are used in product development, architecture, and designs seen all around us. For example, the University of Minnesota's Weisman Art Museum is an origami-inspired structure. The speaker is an artist and a consultant who applies origami principles to engineering problems.

Can chocolate save your life?
7:00pm, Thursday, April 22, 2010, Willey Hall 175
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Nancy Reid, professor of statistics, University of Toronto

This question appeared in a recent newspaper headline, but was based on a study involving only 14 people. How can we interpret the statistics behind headlines? What does statistically significant really mean? How do statistics get manipulated to further an agenda? The field of statistics is essential to understanding most current issues. It informs economics, health care, and environmental protection. The speaker calls statistics mathematical social work; it helps science progress, so it is important to understand its power.

Lecture Details
Refreshments: 6:30 p.m.
Lecture: 7 p.m.
Location: 175 Willey Hall, 225 19th Avenue South West Bank, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Directions: http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/WilleyH/index.html

For updates on future public lectures: http://www.ima.umn.edu/public-lecture

The IMA brings together the best minds in math and the sciences to solve pressing problems facing our society, our industries, and our planet. It is funded by the National Science Foundation and the University of Minnesota.

Institute for Mathematics and its Applications
University of Minnesota
114 Lind Hall
207 Church Street, S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity employer.