MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #65

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin


Spring 2007 Presentation #65 (October 19, 2007)
by Professor Benjamin Collins, UW-Platteville Past Lecture: "Mathematics to the Rescue: Centrality in Graphs"

"A Marvelously Terrible Algorithm from Leonhard Euler"

Abstract: Leonhard Euler was unquestionably one of the greatest mathematical minds of all time. However, from the vantage point of the 20th century, many of his techniques seem to lack rigor. An algorithm for solving polynomial equations that author Peter Flusser states that based on nothing but wishful thinking  will be presented. But, as with almost everything from the mind of Euler, it works!An art gallery is in the shape of a polygon with n sides. What is the minimum number of guards that are needed so that every point in the gallery can be seen by at least one guard? Where should the guards be placed? Is the answer different if the gallery has a more traditional orthogonal shape where all walls meet at right angles?  

Biography: He earned a Bachelor's degree from Central College (IA), a Master's degree from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has taught at Saint John's University (MN), Midland Lutheran College (NE), and is currently on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. His mathematical interests include graph theory, abstract algebra, and history of mathematics, and his non-Mathematical interests are Tessa (9), Ashton (6) and Quinn (2).



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