September Seminar

Speaker: Dr. Jane Butterfield

Title: Geometrical Proofs Across Cultures

Abstract: You might have heard that it’s impossible to square a circle, but did you know that it is also impossible to trisect an angle? What does any of that really mean, and under what circumstances is it really true? We will explore three different paradigms of geometrical constructions, starting from the Śulbasūtras of Ancient India, moving through Euclid’s axioms, and finally adding the more recent Origami axioms.

Bio: Jane Butterfield studies graph theory and math education, and has given numerous talks on graph theory and combinatorics to many different audiences and age ranges. While her PhD research was in extremal graph theory, Jane also enjoys topological graph theory, Ramsey games, and pursuit games on graphs. She spent two years teaching calculus to talented high school students for the Math Center for Educational Programs at the University of Minnesota, and is now an Associate Teaching Professor at the University of Victoria. At UVic, Jane manages the Math & Stats Assistance Centre. Because of the US & Canadian spelling differences, this means she has worked for both a Center and a Centre! 



Speaker: Dr. Audrey Yap

Title: Philosophy of Mathematics

Abstract/Bio: I’m an Associate Professor in the philosophy department, and have worked in logic, the history and philosophy of math, and feminist philosophy. I wanted to study logic and philosophy of math in grad school mostly because I love that, in logic and math, you can actually have a right answer. The problem is, when you study too much philosophy, you start to worry about whether those answers are *really* right after all. In this session, I will talk about the philosophy of math, including some of the questions people have had over the years about what math is all about, and why we even think it works.