High School Math Night

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Revision as of 14:44, 15 February 2011 by Clement (talk | contribs) (Talks this semester)
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What is it?

The UW-Madison math department organizes a series of talks aimed at high school students throughout the semester. Our goal is to present fun talks that give students a taste of interesting ideas in math and science. In the past we've had talks about plasma and weather in outer space, the way images are shaded in video games, and how credit card numbers are securely transmitted over the internet.

Important: After each talk we'll have pizza provided by the department, and students will have an opportunity to mingle and chat with the speaker to ask questions about college, careers in science, etc.

Alright, I want to come!

Great! If you're a high school teacher, we hope you'll tell your students about these talks and organize a car pool to the UW (all talks take place in Van Vleck Hall on the UW campus). We'd also appreciate if you email us the dates that your group will be attending, so we can purchase the appropriate amount of pizza.

If you're a high school student, speak with your high school teacher about organizing a car pool to the math night (and tell us how many people are coming!)


If you have any questions, suggestions for topics, or so on, just email the Math Night organizers: math-night@math.wisc.edu.

Talks this semester

More details about each talk to follow. All talks are at 7pm in Van Vleck Hall B231.

Date Speaker Talk (click for more info)
February 17th, 2011 Andrew Bridy Cryptography
March 10th, 2011 Ed Dewey TBA
March 24th, 2011 Lalit Jain TBA
April 7th, 2011 Balazs Strenner TBA
April 28th, 2011 Prof. Nigel Boston Face Recognition


February 17th, 2011

The science of code making and code breaking

Sending information securely over the internet is an enormous practical problem. How can you be sure that no one is reading your email, or worse, stealing your credit card number when you buy something online? Cryptography is the art of encoding a message so it looks like a string of random letters or numbers, and decoding it on the other side to get the original message back. In this talk I'll show you some simple ways you can use math to encode and decode information, and how the same techniques can be used to attack codes and try to break them. The branch of math used is called number theory, and the problems that come up are very simple to state and very hard to solve, leading right to current research that mathematicians are working on today.

Speaker: Andrew Bridy

Andrew is a third year math Ph. D. student studying algebra and computer science. Before coming to graduate school, he taught high school math for a year and was deployed with the Peace Corps to Honduras. Andrew is an avid video game fan - you should ask him to tell you about his favorite PC video games of the late 1990's.

Face Recognition

April 28th, 2011

Invariant-Based Face Recognition

Speaker: Professor Nigel Boston

Nigel Boston is a professor in the departments of mathematics and electrical & computer engineering at UW-Madison. Nigel works in many interesting areas, including applying research from algebra and number theory to real world problems in engineering.