2010 Public Lectures

2010 Free Public Lecture Series at Melbourne Museum.
Presented by The Mathematical Association of Victoria
in association with Museum Victoria.

Melbourne Museum
Mathematics education: Australia's very own Titanic
Presented by Dr Marty Ross
DATE: Sunday, 1 August 2010 Titanic
VENUE: The Age Theatre, Melbourne Museum
Nicholson Street, Carlton
Melway reference: 2B J10
TIME: 11:30am to 12:30pm
COST: Lecture Free! Note: Subscribers to MVTeachers can enter the museum free of charge. For further details and registration instructions please visit museumvictoria.com.au/Education/MVteachers.
Students, concessions and children free.
 

The Titanic is of course THE metaphor for disaster, in particular for disaster resulting from professional arrogance. So, we do not see why a critique of Australian mathematics education should, um, miss the boat.

Are things really that bad? Yes. In this talk we'll explain how and why, and we'll indicate who to blame (pretty much everyone, including ourselves). We'll give some advice for students and parents interested in the learning of real mathematics.

Listen to the lecture:    

Rubik's Cube: Solved, once and for all!
Presented by Dr Burkard Polster
DATE: Sunday, 15 August 2010 Burkard Polster
VENUE: The Age Theatre, Melbourne Museum
Nicholson Street, Carlton
Melway reference: 2B J10
TIME: 11:30am to 12:30pm
COST: Lecture Free! Note: Subscribers to MVTeachers can enter the museum free of charge. For further details and registration instructions please visit museumvictoria.com.au/Education/MVteachers.
Students, concessions and children free.
 

Can you solve the Cube? And no, reading and copying a recipe definitely does NOT count!

How can you actually find such a recipe? How can you solve the cube in 10 seconds? How can you solve it blindfolded? How would God solve it?

Sound interesting? Then don't miss out on this talk, where all will be revealed. Burkard "CubeMeister" Polster answers these questions, and will explain how mathematics is behind all the answers.

Listen to the lecture:   

Watch a video of Burkard's presentation. Please note that this is a 95MB video, suitable for broadband connections only.

Mathematics and the Magic Box
Presented by Dr Marty Ross
DATE: Sunday, 12 September 2010 Magic Box
VENUE: The Age Theatre, Melbourne Museum
Nicholson Street, Carlton
Melway reference: 2B J10
TIME: 11:30am to 12:30pm
COST: Lecture Free! Note: Subscribers to MVTeachers can enter the museum free of charge. For further details and registration instructions please visit museumvictoria.com.au/Education/MVteachers.
Students, concessions and children free.
 

Mathematics is commonly thought of as calculations, as explicit formulas which give us definite answers. However, modern mathematics is nothing like this. In reality, our appeals to the Mathematics Gods are seldom rewarded with precise solutions. Rather, the Gods respond: "We cannot tell you the answer, but the answer is definitely somewhere in this Magic Box".

In this talk we'll describe the Magic Box and whence it came. We'll explain how mathematicians make do with the Gods' strange blessing, and why in fact the Gods can provide nothing more.

Weapons of Maths Destruction
Presented by Dr Burkard Polster
DATE: Sunday, 17 October 2010 Burkard Polster
VENUE: The Age Theatre, Melbourne Museum
Nicholson Street, Carlton
Melway reference: 2B J10
TIME: 11:30am to 12:30pm
COST: Lecture Free! Note: Subscribers to MVTeachers can enter the museum free of charge. For further details and registration instructions please visit museumvictoria.com.au/Education/MVteachers.
Students, concessions and children free.
 

How was the Second World War won? Many military experts have claimed that a lot of the credit has to go to Polish and British mathematicians, responsible for deciphering the German Enigma code. And we believe them. However, this is just one example where a handful of mathematicians were more effective than thousands in the opposing armies.

Come and find out about some of History's most destructive mathematical weapons. The pen is mightier than the sword? You bet!

 

About the Lecturers:

Burkard Polster and Marty Ross are Melbourne's tag team of mathematics. They write the Maths Masters column for The Education Age, appear at schools, and do whatever they can to convince whoever they can that mathematics is beautiful and fun. All their activities can be checked out at www.qedcat.com.

"These really are world class public lectures. And to make them work for such a diverse audience is a splendid achievement."
Dr Max Stephens, MAV Life Member.

Burkard Polster is a maths lecturer, and Monash University's resident Mathemagician, mathematical juggler, origami expert, bubble-master, shoelace charmer, and Count von Count impersonator. When he is not doing fun mathematics he has fun investigating perfect mathematical universes.

Marty Ross is a mathematical bum. At the age of 2, he ran away from America to join the circus. After some controversy involving an elephant, he returned to America to do his PhD on minimal surfaces at Stanford University. After a stint at Rice University, he came back to Australia. Since then, he has wandered from Maths Department to Maths Department, aimless but happy.

Read what Burkard and Marty lectured about in 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004.

 

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