Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series

The 33nd meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series will be held Tuesday, June 11, 2019 in room L-211 at 3:30 PM. This is the last meeting of the year. (We will resume the second week of Fall quarter.)

Larry Susanka will add to the discussion of Ziskind on quaternions and rotations. We will start with a reminder of basic group theory concepts and symmetry, proceed to discussion of the Pauli spin group and the quaternions and finish with an implementation in MATLAB, with graphical depiction of rotation using quaternions. Here are some slides we will see from this talk. And here are more comprehensive notes on quaternions.


This series of talks will be devoted to any subject of interest to our general community of Mathematics and Physics enthusiasts.


Officially, talks start at 3:30 pm sharp, but the room (and coffee, tea and pastries) will be available to us for general (fairly random) arguments and discussions from 3:00 to 3:30. Sometimes these can be as entertaining as the talk itself.

Note to speakers: try very hard to make all your points by 4:20 pm, or save them for the next meeting in the 3:00-3:30 pre-meeting period.


Link to the Direct Progenitor Series, Mathematical Methods for Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity Colloquium Series, 67 Meetings from January 2016 to March 2018

Link to the past series, Hilbert Space for Quantum Mechanics, 87 Meetings from January 2013 to December 2015

Link to the Older Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series, 45 meetings from January 2003 to May 2006

Descriptions of a few Prehistoric Talks, before 1990.
(Only rumors and hints about this mysterious period remain, before the birth date of many of our current faculty. If you have additional information or corrections please contact the Colloquium organizer.)



The first meeting of the new Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Larry Curnutt gave a historical sketch of Science talks given at BCC in the eighties, and Larry Susanka began a description of the more recent talks, of which this was the 200th! We also talked about this newest incarnation of the colloquium series and what we want to achieve. The second meeting was held Tuesday, April 24, 2018 in room L-214 at 4:00 PM. Larry Susanka finished a historical review of Math and Physics talks given at BC. The third meeting was be held Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Mike Ulrey, an old regular who has been in Ohio recently, has returned for a while and spoke on his latest ruminations about entanglement/Bell's Experiment. Here is a link to his slides from this talk and if you want the Mathematica notebook corresponding to his slides they can be found here.

(And here is a link to slides from his earlier talk if you want to compare.)

The 4th meeting was held Tuesday, May 8, 2018. New speaker Zachary Barnes talked about the number (and how to count them) of spanning trees which can be built from the edges and nodes of a finite graph. The arguments for this surprising result were invented originally by Gustav Khirchoff of electric circuit fame. Applications include fluid flow in porous media, QFT, electric and internet networks and Feynman integrals, among many others. His slides are here. The 5th meeting was held Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Robert Hobbs talked about Engineering a Particle Accelerator or Atom Smasher: What do particle accelerators do? He talked about the kinds of physics knowledge needed to design and operate accelerators. The 6th meeting was held May 22, 2018. Jen Townsend spoke about Machine Learning. Machine learning (Artificial Intelligence) is hardly "magical". Most algorithms are mere applications of undergraduate-level mathematics: linear algebra, multivariate calculus, probability and statistics. In this talk we saw an overview of the processes used in machine learning, and some specific mathematics content that underpins machine learning algorithms---from simple decision trees up through neural networks.
The 7th meeting was held Tuesday, May 29, 2018. Robert Hobbs continued his earlier talk on Engineering a Particle Accelerator or Atom Smasher: What do particle accelerators do? The 8th meeting was held Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Larry Susanka talked about Improving the Good: the Richardson Extrapolation Technique for improving the convergence rate of almost ANY numerical method that uses a limit as a parameter goes to 0. Examples: finding a derivative of a function at some point, or finding an integral over an interval using the trapezoid rule or finding the value of the solution to a DE at some time in the future using Euler's method. Our discussion uses power series, but nothing more than a nodding acquaintance with them is required. As an added bonus, we will use MATLAB to demonstrate the effectiveness of the procedure. The 9th meeting was held Tuesday, September 25, 2018. Larry Susanka talked about a few topics from Number Theory and explain how one of the public key encryption methods, the RSA Cryptosystem, works. Numerical examples (using small primes to create the public/private key pair) were worked out in detail. A Handout version of the slides can be found here and expanded notes with a bit more number theory can be found here.
The 10th meeting was held Tuesday, October 9th, 2018. Steve Ziskind will spoke. His topic: All Roads Lead To Rome (sometimes). He discussed random walks and interesting consequences of Polya's Theorem. His slides can be found here. The 11th meeting was held Tuesday, October 16th, 2018. Steve Ziskind finished a discussion of random walks and Polya's Theorem. His write-up can be found here. The 12th meeting was held Tuesday, October 23th, 2018. Trevor Gamble led a lively discussion on the relationship between Mathematical Structures and applications to Physics.
The 13th meeting was held Tuesday, October 30th, 2018. This meeting was an amazing multi-faceted demo by Robert Hobbs "Presenting diverse spectra using a thin white line screen" exploring facts from his upcoming paper on this topic. The 14th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, November 6th 2018. Larry Susanka talked about the setup needed to explore E. C. Zeeman's 1963 paper " Causality Implies the Lorentz Group." The 15th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, November 13th 2018. Larry Susanka explored further the setup for E. C. Zeeman's 1963 paper " Causality Implies the Lorentz Group."
The 16th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held November 20th 2018. Steve Ziskind talked. His title: "Simple Random Walk - Stranger Than You Think." Here is an m-file for his talk. The 17th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held November 27th 2018. Robert Hobbs and a student cohort demonstrated some interesting features of holograms: in particular that the size of the image is dependent on the frequency with which the hologram is illuminated. Then Larry Susanka talked about Causality and the Lorentz group. The 18th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, January 15th 2019. UW student Zach Barnes spoke about a recent advance in computing theory that demonstrates that many of the touted benefits of Quantum computing can be achieved with classical computers. Here are his slides.
The 19th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, January 22th 2019 in room L-211 at 3:30 PM. Steve Ziskind spoke on a result related to the distribution of prime numbers. Here is one file related to the talk and here is another. The 20th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, January 29th 2019 at 3:30 PM. Steve Ziskind argued with Victor about the distribution of prime numbers and presented this delightful proof of the divergence of the sum of prime reciprocals. The 21st meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, February 19th 2019. (The February 5th and 12th meetings were cancelled due to snow!) Victor Polinger spoke, to continue next week. His title: "Schroedinger: The Discovery of Quantum Mechanics".
The 22st meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, February 28th 2019. Victor Polinger continued with "Schroedinger: The Discovery of Quantum Mechanics". The 23st meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, March 4 2019 in room L-211 at 3:30 PM. Trevor Gamble spoke. His title: "Angular momentum in an atom: Is it real, or a figment if our historical path of thinking? This, and other personally puzzling thoughts". The 24th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, March 11 2019. Robert Hobbs regaled us with demos involving reflections.
The 25th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, April 9 2019. Robert Hobbs provided another collection of hands-on optics demonstrations. The 26th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, April 16 2019. A new speaker, Luke Rawlings, discussed his work on "Group Theory, Symmetry, Art and Regular Division of Planar Regions." This is work he is doing in collaboration with his PhD supervisor. This first talk concentrated on his art and was amazing. The 27th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, April 23, 2019. New speaker Luke Rawlings continued his wonderful discussion of his work on "Group Theory, Symmetry, Art and Regular Division of Planar Regions." His talks have both featured art he has created, reminiscent of the work of M. C. Escher.
The 28th meeting of the Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Steve Ziskind spoke. His title: "Our Friend the Quaternion." Here are some notes outlining his talk. The 29th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Larry Curnutt gave the first of (at least) two talks on the Calculus of Variations. The 30th meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Larry Curnutt continued to speak on the Calculus of Variations.
The 31st meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Larry Curnutt finished up his discussion of the Calculus of Variations.

Here are reference notes he provided.

The 32nd meeting of this Mathematics and Physics Colloquium Series was held Tuesday, June 4, 2019. Trevor Gamble presided over "Mystery Topic" which was related to General Relativity, among several other things. Creative and interesting, as always!


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This page was last modified on 06/13/19 at 19:10.