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Math Encounters:
"Squaring the Circle — with Quilts!"

featuring Beth Malmskog

Wednesday, June 5
4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

(in person)

Imagine five friends in a quilting circle decide to make five quilts in a "round robin" sort of way.  Is it possible to find a way to pass quilts among five people so that each person works on each quilt, and no person passes to the same person twice?  The pursuit of an answer leads to "Latin squares" — mathematical objects with a thousand-year history and modern applications in experimental design, error correcting codes, and even entertainment. 

Join Beth Malmskog, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Colorado College, to hear the story of how this real-life problem connects quilting, taste testing, combinatorics, group theory, graph theory, number theory, music, Tom and Jerry, and the power and limits of modern computing.  We may be starting with just a simple quilt, but we’ll end up with some mathematical mysteries that remain unsolved to this day.

Special introduction by David Pollack, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Chair, Mathematics and Computer Science, Wesleyan University.

Math Encounters is MoMath's popular free public presentation series celebrating the spectacular world of mathematics, produced with support from Simons Foundation International.  Light refreshments will be served.


June 5th, 2024 from  4:00 pm to  5:30 pm
National Museum of Mathematics
225 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States
Phone: 212-542-0566