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Department News & Events » Prof. Crans presents at National Math Festival

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Dr. Alissa S. Crans will be giving two presentations, “Patterns + Women = Figures in Mathematics” and “A Surreptitious Sequence:  the Catalan Numbers” at the National Math Festival in Washington DC on Saturday, April 18, 2015.  Descriptions of her presentations appear below:

Patterns + Women = Figures in Mathematics  (Ages 11 – 18)

How many mathematicians can you name?  How many female mathematicians were on your list?  Come be introduced to Grace Chisholm Young, a prominent female mathematician known for the mathematics textbooks for children she co-authored with her husband. Together, we’ll discover an equation in their book about geometry, known as “Euler’s Formula,” that relates the number of vertices, edges, and faces of a given polyhedron. Note: This workshop is for middle and high school girls and their accompanying adults.

A Surreptitious Sequence:  the Catalan Numbers  (Ages 14+)

Many of us are familiar with famous sequences of numbers such as the odd numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, …, perfect squares 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, …, Fibonacci sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, … ,or the triangular numbers 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, … But what about the sequence 1, 1, 2, 5, 14, …? First described by Euler in the 1700s and made famous by Belgian mathematician Eugčne Catalan 100 years later, these “Catalan numbers” take on a variety of different guises as they provide the solution to numerous problems throughout mathematics.