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Over 60 Easton High School students will visit Monday for the first “Mathematical Adventures at Lafayette.”

The math department will host three Easton High teachers and 64 honors and advanced placement calculus students for morning and afternoon sessions in Pardee Hall rooms 201, 217, and 219, as well as lunch in the Farinon Center Marlo Room. The students will be matched up with their preferences for one of three morning activities and one of three afternoon ones.

“It should be a very entertaining and stimulating mathematical experience for them,” says Evan D. Fisher, associate professor and head of math. “They’ll learn and have a lot of fun. These are things they don’t see in their normal high school mathematics classes.”

The Lafayette faculty leading the sessions will be Gary Gordon, Liz McMahon, and Cliff Reiter, professors of mathematics; and Derek Smith, Ethan Berkove, Chawne Kimber, and Qin Lu, assistant professors of mathematics.

In the morning, Smith will lead a morning session on “Mathematical Magic.” Kimber will pose “The Dilemma of Josephus,” a well-known problem in combinatorics named after the Jewish soldier and historian Flavius Josephus, who used his mathematical cunning to escape death during the Jewish-Roman war. Reiter will lead students in “The Mystery of the 3x+1 Function,” described by Fisher as “a simple function on positive integers whose iteration forms intriguing patterns. There a simple conjecture about the function that is believed to be true, but which has confounded mathematicians for decades. This presentation will introduce students to this function and its fascinating behavior.”

In the afternoon, Lu will present “Mobius Bands and More,” in which students will explore the interesting properties of topological objects. Gordon and McMahon will lead a session called “Platonic solids and cool geometry,” in which students will “use polydrons to create the five Platonic solids and several of the 13 Archimedean solids,” says Fisher. “Students will also explore the geometry of soap bubbles.” Berkove will delve into “Recreational Mathematics,” involving the mathematics behind “magic squares,” the “instant insanity puzzle,” and other simple games.

The math department developed the local outreach program through several planning sessions last year and this fall.

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