MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #121

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin

Spring 2013 Presentation #121 (Jan 25, 2013)

Professor Jean-Luc Thiffeault of UW-Madison

"Making taffy with the Golden mean"

Downloads: Wisconsin Science Symposium

Abstract: Taffy pullers are devices used to make candy or bread. They are very interesting mathematically: we can relate the number of folds of dough to some famous mathematical sequences. Some surprising numbers pop up, like the Golden mean but also its lesser-known cousins. We can use this knowledge to improve existing devices. (Warning: no actual taffy will be made. Sorry.)


Jean-Luc Thiffeault is an Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After an undergraduate degree in physics at McGill University, he entered the PhD program at the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with a degree i Physics. He was then a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University before being a lecturer at Imperial College London. In 2007 he joined the faculty at UW-Madison. His interests include fluid dynamics, topology, and biolocomotion.



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