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Thursday, May 02, 2019

These 5 talks at the National Math Festival prove that math really is everywhere | Express - Washington Post

Speakers at the event May 4 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center will tackle football, romance, elections and more, inform Angela Haupt, freelance writer and full-time health editor in D.C.
Festivalgoers can try their luck at colorful board games that incorporate math. Don’t worry, they’re still fun.
Photo: Amanda Kowalski

An affinity for numbers isn’t necessarily part of the equation at the National Math Festival. “Don’t count yourself out because you don’t think of yourself as a math person,” says Kirsten Bohl, project lead for Saturday’s event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The third iteration of the free festival, organized by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, offers a hodgepodge of programming, including presentations, short films, “mathletic” competitions, dance performances, puzzles and games. Bohl emphasizes that while there’s plenty for kids and families, adults could “spend all day taking in juicy talks.” Here are a number to consider...

The Mathematics of Social Choice 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; 3:15-4 p.m.
There’s a little election slated for 2020, which means it’s a fine time to consider if there are better methods of determining the wishes of an electorate than our system of plurality voting. Emily Riehl, an assistant math professor at Johns Hopkins University, will examine how various algorithms can have an impact on the way federal, state and local elections play out — and help ensure that the winner reflects voter intent. “What she’s going to do is explore: What if a mathematician did try to make the voting process fairer? How would past elections have turned out differently?” Bohl says. “It’s a great example of how mathematicians are always thinking about different aspects of our lives. Math really is behind everything in the world.”.

Math and the Movies 10:15-11 a.m.; 12:45-1:30 p.m.
You know those wow-worthy effects in animated movies, like the swirling snow in “Frozen” or the magical ocean in “Moana”? They’re the work of math wizards. “It’s basically, how do we replicate or simulate the real world via computers?” Bohl says, describing the scientific computing Joseph Teran does for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Teran, a professor of applied mathematics at UCLA, will explain why we need math to create realistic animations. He’ll share a snowy scene from “Frozen,” for example, that involves more than 7 million discrete particles (and also, presumably, clarify what exactly a discrete particle is).
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW; Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free.

Source: Washington Post