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Chester J. Salwach, associate professor of mathematics, will speak on “Steiner’s Triples, Kirkman’s Schoolgirls, and Designs in General” noon today in Pardee Hall room 227.

The talk is part of the Mathematical Adventures and Diversions (MAAD) series. Lunch will be provided free of charge.

Kirkman’s schoolgirl problem was introduced by the Rev. Thomas J. Kirkman as “Query 6” on page 48 of the Lady’s and Gentleman’s Diary (1850): “A teacher would like to take 15 schoolgirls out for a walk, the girls being arranged in 5 rows of three. The teacher would like to ensure equal chances of friendship between any two girls. Hence it is desirable to find different row arrangements for the 7 days of the week such that any pair of girls walk in the same row exactly one day of the week.” Can one hope to arrange such friendly relations?

Salwach’s research interests include the theory of combinatorial designs and algebraic coding theory. The computer has been used extensively in constructing (and attempting to construct) various combinatorial structures.

MAAD is a series of talks on mathematical topics and applications that are often not encountered in mathematics courses. They are open to the Lafayette community and assume no special mathematical preparation on the part of the audience.

Categorized in: Academic News