MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #113

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin

 

Spring 2012 Presentation #113 (March 21, 2012)

Professors Colin Adams and Tom Garrity's (Williams College)

" The Great Pi vs e debate"

{Previous performance of this lecture on You-Tube in five parts}

pi versus e - part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5

pi versus e 5 of 5

Previous Lectures: (Why Knot?)

Abstract: We settle once and for all the burning question that has plagued humankind from time immemorial: "Which is the better number, e or pi?" In what is arguably (it is a losing argument, but it is an argument nonetheless) the most important debate of the millennium, Mathematics Professors Colin Adams and Tom Garrity use any means within their powers, legal or otherwise, to prove their point. Our debaters challenge orthodoxy, speak loudly and behave rather badly in their attempts to convince the audience of the absolutely ridiculous nature of their competitors  arguments. This event may have the historical significance of the Edict of Nantes, the Yalta conference, or the Kennedy-Nixon debates. Or perhaps not. But just in case, you don't want to miss it. Which number is the superior number? Which number deserves to be held in the highest regard? You may already have your strongly felt opinions but get ready to have them stood on their heads, when you see the Great Pi/e Debate!

Biography: Colin Adams is the Thomas T. Read Professor of Mathematics at Williams College. In addition to a variety of research articles, he is the author of "The Knot Book" and "Why Knot? , a mathematical comic book with attached toy. He is also the co-author of the humorous supplements "How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide", and "How to Ace the Rest of Calculus: the Streetwise Guide", and the co-author of Introduction to Topology: Pure and Applied . He was a recipient of the MAA Haimo Distinguished Teaching Award in 1998, an MAA Polya Lecturer for 1998-2000, a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer for 2000-2002, and the recipient of the Robert Foster Cherry Teaching Award in 2003. He is also the humor columnist for the Mathematical Intelligencer.

Thomas Garrity is the William. R Kenan Jr. Professor of Mathematics at Williams College and the Director of the Williams Project for Effective Teaching. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Brown University in 1989. He has worked in algebraic geometry, computer algebra, differential geometry and, more recently, in number theory. He is the author of a variety of research articles and the book All the Mathematics You Missed [But Need to Know for Graduate School]. Among his honors, he received the MAA Haimo Distinguished Teaching Award in 2004. Colin Adams and Tom Garrity appear together in the humorous DVDs The Great Pi/e Debate , and "The United States of Mathematics Presidential Debate "both of which are available from the Mathematical Association of America(MAA) MAA production

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