Richards Math Lecture

Join us for the biannual Frank and Lisa Richards Mathematics Lecture Series. This lecture series is intended to raise awareness of mathematics on campus and in the northern Utah community.  Although mathematics is frequently acknowledged as being useful and challenging, mathematics is inherently beautiful and mysterious, and the Richards Math Lecture is a wonderful opportunity for attendees to see this. The next lecture will be in 2018, please return for more information. For now, enjoy the information below to catch a glimpse into what we have already learned. 


Harmonious Equations: A Mathematical Exploration of Music

Dr. David Kung

February 8, 2016

Dr. David Kung, St. Mary's College of Maryland, will be presenting Harmonious Equations: A Mathematical Exploration of Music.

Dave Kung fell in love with both mathematics and music at a very early age.  More successful with one than the other, he completed three degrees from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, none in music, before joining the faculty at St. Mary's College of Maryland.  A recently promoted Professor of Mathematics, he still enjoys playing violin with students and in the local community orchestra. He was chosen to give the 2010 MAA Undergraduate Lecture in Mathematics at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, the largest mathematics conference in the world. He has authored a variety of articles on topics in harmonic analysis and mathematics education and is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2006 Teaching Award from the MD/VA/DC section of the MAA. He is co-writing a book about college math teaching entitled, "What Could They Possibly Be Thinking? Understanding Your College Math Students." His Great Courses lectures, How Music and Mathematics Relate, have quickly become a top Math & Science seller for the Teaching Company. Since 2014, he serves as the director of Project NExT, the MAA's professional development program for new mathematics faculty.


Voting in an Agreeable Society

Dr. Francis E. Su

2012 Richards Lecture on September 27, 2012
(To watch the lecture click here.)











Spherical Cats and Ham Sandwiches

Dr. Jonathan Rogness

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weber State Mathematics Department hosted the first lecture in the Richards Math Lecture Series. 

The talk, titled Spherical Cats and Ham Sandwiches, was given by Dr. Jonathan Rogness, from the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Rogness spoke about a mathematical area known as topology.  He explained that from the point of view of topology, circles are the same as squares and a donut is the same as a coffee cup.  Although topology can sound very theoretical, it has many concrete consequences that Dr. Rogness showed us.  For example, at any given moment there is a point on the surface of the earth where the temperature and barometric pressure are identical to the temperature and pressure on the opposite side of the earth.  More practically, we have all benefitted from topology when we have read certain maps, such as a map of the London Underground subway system.  On a more hair-raising note, Dr. Rogness showed us that it is impossible to comb the hair on a spherical cat without creating a ``cowlick.''  Dr. Rogness concluded his talk by taking us on a virtual 3D flythrough of various topological models of the universe. 

Overall the talk was a wonderful success.  Nearly 200 students, faculty, and community members attended, and Dr. Rogess spent more than a half hour afterward answering questions from numerous enthusiastic attendees.  

Dr. Rogness received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 2005.  He is currently an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota as well as the Associate Director of the Mathematics Center for Educational Programs.  In his career as a teacher, he has taught college students as well as high school students participating in University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program.  

In addition to being a wonderful speaker, Dr. Rogness and colleague Doug Arnold are co-creators of an award winning mathematical video.  Their video, titled "Mobius Transformations Revealed," won Honorable Mention in a national contest relating to the visualization of science and engineering.  The video has since been viewed more than 1.7 million times on Youtube, and it can be accessed via the following link.



Return to Resources

3rd Biannual Richards Math Lecture Series
February 8, 2016 7:00 pm
Lind Lecture Hall 125/126

Harmonious Equations: A Mathematical Exploration of Music, by Dr. David Kung, from St. Mary's College of Maryland

2nd Biannual Richards Math Lecture Series
September 27, 2012 7:00 pm
Lind Lecture Hall 125/126

Voting in an Agreeable Society, by Dr. Francis E. Su, from Harvey Mudd College

1st Biannual Richards Math Lecture Series
March 30, 2010 7:00 pm
Lind Lecture Hall 125/126

Spherical Cats and Ham Sandwiches, by Dr. Jonathan Rogness, from the University of Minnesota