MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #86

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin


Spring 2009 Presentation #86 (September 18, 2009)

Professor Steve Deckelman, UW- Stout

"How To Prove The Impossible"

Abstract: Impossibility Theorems are some of most intriguing in mathematics. Results of this type are often fascinatingly counterintuitive because they tell us that something we think ought to be possible is actually impossible. Historically, the 2000 year old quests to duplicate the cube, trisect the angle and square the circle were eventually stymied by proofs that these geometric constructions are impossible. Although students don't usually learn why this is so until taking a college course in modern algebra, the basic ideas behind these \three Greek problems" are surprisingly elementary and can be understood with a good precalculus(algebra+trigonometry) background. This talk will describe how all of this works.

Biography: Dr. Steve Deckelman (1994); PhD. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison


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