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12 April 2011
Lord Kelvin
20 April 2010
Between the Folds
21 January 2010
Sounds Like Math
12 November 2009
Pleating the Plane
9 September 2009
Magic: The Gathering
13 May 2009
Slide Rule Night
08 April 2009
Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems
11 March 2009
Game night!
11 February 2009
Flatland: The Movie
10 December 2008
Albrecht Dürer
12 November 2008
Curves in Computer Aided Design
08 October 2008
Outside In and Other Eversions
29 March 2007
Artful Mathematics of Origami
15 February 2007
Last Poem of James Clerk Maxwell
 
 
Lord Kelvin’s Imagination and the Odd Origins of Knot Theory
 
The Division of Sciences and Mathematics at Spring Hill College presented the 27th Rimes Lecture on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in Byrne Memorial Hall.

Lecturer was Dr. Daniel S. Silver Professor of Mathematics and Head of Graduate Studies at The University of South Alabama. His topic was “Lord Kelvin’s Imagination and the Odd Origins of Knot Theory.”

Silver received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Yale University in 1980 where his research area was topology, in particular the Theory of Knots. He is past President of the Mobile Chamber Music Society, founder of the Mobile Mathematical Society and creator of the political and social issues comic strip “Life Forms”, published in the Harbinger.

Lord Kelvin was one of the greatest and most impulsive scientists of the 19th century. The sight of smoke rings gliding across a room led him to formulate a theory of matter. Kelvin's Vortex Atom Theory would fail, but knot theory would emerge from the debris.

The Rimes Lecture was created to honor the Rev. William J. Rimes, S.J., who dedicated more than 30 years to Spring Hill College as a student, professor and college president. The biology building, Yancey Hall, and the chemistry building, Diegnan Hall, were constructed while Rimes was president. For more information, call the Spring Hill College Division of Sciences at (251) 380-3070.
 
 
Between the Folds
 
On April 20, 2010, to coincide with the Alabama School of Math and Science's Math Fest, the Society held our meeting on the ASMS campus. We viewed the amazing documentary on origami Between the Folds, and had a live Skype chat with Dr. Erik Demaine of MIT, one of the origamists from the film.
 
 
Sounds Like Math
 
On January 21, 2010, Tae Hong Park, Assistant Professor at Tulane University, presented an exploration of electronic music technology, including recognizing and synthesizing musical sounds with cutting-edge software such as "FMS Toolbox."

Park's Web Site
 
 
Pleating the Plane:
Wallpaper Groups and Origami Tessellations
 
On November 12, 2009, Susan Williams demonstrated a new form of origami with slideshows, her own creations, and some web applets.

Applets used during her presentation include:
Escher Sketch
JWallpaper
Kaleidoscope maker

Susan's origami page
 
 
Magic: The Gathering
 
On September 9, 2009, Kevin Dolbeare gaive a talk on Mathematics and Magic: Beyond the Five-Color Wheel. Strategy and luck combine in the world's most popular trading card game, invented by a mathematician.
 
 
Slide Rule Night
 
On May 13, 2009, we attempted to revive usage of the slide rule by offering prizes to those who could perform simple computations using this analog calculator. Dan Silver and Susan Williams demonstrated and ran the games.
 
 
Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems
 
On April 8, 2009, Eric Loomis gave a talk on Gödel's Incompleness Theorems, entitled Anti-Foundationalism, Machine Intelligence, and Other (alleged) Philosophical Consequences of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems.
 
In general terms, Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems show that any axiom system for arithmetic that obeys certain very plausible constraints must contain propositions that are not decidable within that system. Loomis introduced Gödel's incompleteness theorems, and then present some of the philosophical consequences that these theorems have been claimed to have. These consequences have included claims about supposed limitations of machine intelligence, as well as claims about the nature of knowledge and justification.
Game night!
 
On March 11, 2009, we held a mathematical games night. Some participants played the familiar strategy game of chess, and everyone learned how to play the games Nim and Sprouts. Some of us also learned how to count in binary on our fingers, a helpful tool in determining the optimal move in Nim!
 
 
Flatland: The Movie
On February 11, 2009, we showed Flatland: The Movie, the tale of A Square and his struggle to convice the other flatlanders of the existence of a third dimension. We followed the film with a live web chat with Tom Banchoff of Brown University, the primary advisor to the filmmakers.
 
A .pdf of the first edition of the book is available here.
 
Albrecht Dürer: Artist and Mathematician
 
Albrecht Dürer (1471--1528) was well known in his time both as an artist and a mathematician. "The new art," he wrote in 1494, "must be based upon science -- in particular, upon mathematics, as the most exact, logical, and graphically constructive of sciences." On December 10, 2008, Dan Silver surveyed Dürer's interests in geometry and arithmetic. He also discussed mathematical aspects of some of Dürer's prints that were on view at the Mobile Museum of Art.
 
 
Curves in Computer Aided Design
and Computer Animation
 
Before the discovery of Spline curves, Bézier curves were used frequently in CAD applications, as they could be specified with just a few control points, rather than by some function. Spline curves offer a number of advantages over Bézier curves. On November 12, 2008, Joshua Wheeler showed how each of these curves is constructed and how spline curves are used for modeling.
 
 
Outside In and Other Eversions:
Turning a Sphere from Red to Blue
 
In 1958, Steve Smale proved that it is possible to turn a sphere inside out without creasing or tearing but by allowing the sphere to pass through itself. Such sphere eversions have been used to create computer animations. On October 8, 2008, Sarah Gelsinger showed two of these as well as the eversion she constructed with Scott Carter, in which each step can be carefully analyzed.
 
More information about the Carter-Gelsinger eversion can be found here and here.
The Artful Mathematics of Origami
 
Susan Williams gave a presentation on the art and mathematics of origami at Satori on March 29, 2007.
 
You can find links to various origami resources on Susan's teaching page.
The Last Poem of James Clerk Maxwell
 
The Mobile Mathematical Society met at Satori coffeehouse on February 15, 2007, for a presentation by Daniel Silver, Adam Brown and Joshua Wheeler on the origin and meaning of Maxwell’s Paradoxical Ode, “My soul’s an amphichiral knot...”
 
Full text of Maxwell's poem available here.
 
Pictures from this presentation can be found in the gallery.
   
 
Mobile Mathematical Society
Last Updated: 16 February 2011