MU Presents: Deformations on Low Dimensional Topology

This talk will be given by Jaimal Thind. Food will be served at 4:30pm in the graduate lounge on the 6th floor of Bahen!

Imagine that the surfaces in the picture on this poster are made of a very stretchable rubber. Without cutting, tearing or puncturing the surfaces, can you start with the surface on the top and turn it into the surface below it? Would you like to know how it’s possible? If so, this talk is for you!

In this interactive talk we will introduce some ideas related to surfaces and their generalizations (called manifolds), mostly focussed on dimensions 2 and 3. We will introduce the notion of a manifold, equivalence of manifolds, and look at examples and constructions in low dimension. The audience will have the opportunity to use models to understand the solution to the above problem, and some others like it.

We will put an emphasis on developing geometric intuition, so the only pre-requisite demanded is an open imagination. (Familiarity with the notion of continuity and basic geometry will help.)

The Hallway Probelm

This talk will be given by Jason Siefken!

The hallway problem considers adjacent parallel hallways of unit width each with a single doorway (aligned with integer lattice points) of unit width. It then asks: what are the properties of lines that pass through each doorway? Configurations of doorways closely correspond to Sturmian words, and so properties of these configurations may be lifted to properties of Sturmian words. This talk will explore lines of sight, lines that pass through each doorway, for both the case for both a finite number of parallel hallways and an infinite number, and their consequences for Sturmian words. We then produce a metric on configurations with an infinite number of hallways that preserves the property of admitting a line of sight under limits.

Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the graduate lounge on the 6th floor of Bahen.

Math Union Presents: The Importance of Being Integral

Many practical optimization problems require integer solutions. For example, it doesn’t make sense to give 8.4 dimes in change, to assign 1.3 workers to a shift, or to produce 6.71 chairs. In this talk, we will explore a recently discovered method for attacking this type of optimization problem that uses tools originally developed to understand collections of polynomials. Along the way, we will see why our usual methods for solving optimization problems do not work when integer solutions are required, exchange coins with computational algebra, and explore connections between polynomials and geometry.

Refreshments will be served in the graduate lounge on the 6th floor of Bahen before the talk, at 4:30pm!

Find the event on Facebook here.

Knots and Graphs: Better Together

We will explore the areas of knot theory and graph theory, and then show how these two theories can be combined to prove a property of Jones Polunomial. In the end, we will discuss recent discoveries about what the underlying graph structure can tell us about a knot.

Refreshments will be served at 4:30 in the mathematics graduate lounge on the 6th floor of Bahen.

MUGS VI: How many ways to the coffee house?

Join Dr. Brendan Kelly on Friday for the Math Union’s first MUGS Talk of the semester! Refreshments, as always, will be provided.

The ability to pose good questions is critical in the problem solving process. This talk will begin with a simple question that will frame a conversation on mathematics, education, and your college experience. The mathematical enterprise of digging deeper will send us down the rabbit hole as we investigate variations of the title question. We will explore the importance of asking good questions and techniques to empower students to ask good questions. The only prerequisite for this talk is an inquisitive mind and a willingness to actively participate.

Math Union Book Sale

The Math Union will be holding its book sale some time in the first week of classes. Fantastic deals guaranteed on all kinds of books, from STEM textbooks to scifi novels. For a small preview, here’s what we’ll have in stock.
See if there’s anything you’re interested in here.

MUGS 3: Gotta Catch ‘em All! with Prof. Dror Bar-Natan

Join us this Thursday on Oct 22nd, 2015 at Medical Science Building Room 2173 from 4-6PM for the Math Union’s third instalment: The 17 Tiling Patterns – Gotta Catch ‘em All with Professor Dror Bar-Natan. He is going to uncover all kinds the patterns for plane tiling in mathematical terms and essentially get you obsessed with the game of finding these patterns in everyday life. For those who are interested in symmetries, geometries, and their connections to group theory and topology or simply need new inspirations on tiling designs, do not miss out this excellent opportunity!

Refreshments will be provided. Hope to see you there.

Link to Dror’s bio, and his tiling pattern collection


FREE MAT137 Midterm Prep Session this Friday!

Math Union is very glad to work together with Bluekey Education to organize a FREE midterm preparation session for MAT137 students who are striving for excellent results. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to receive a copy of the Bluekey MAT137 Midterm 1 Study Guide, 2014 MAT137 Midterm 1 Full Solutions, and a surprise Bluekey merch. It is happening this Friday, Oct 16th, 2015 from 6-9PM at Galbraith Building Room 304.

Seats are limited (60 spots). First come, first served basis. Sign up now:

MUGS 2 in collaboration with the BMSSA: The Impact of the Medium of Mathematics and Its Impact on Science

Math Union and the Book & Media Studies Student Association collaborate for the very first time to present you “The Impact of the Medium of Mathematics and Its Impact on Science” with Robert K. Logan (Bob) on Oct 15th, 2015 from 4:00-6:00PM at the Marshall McLuhan Coach House. Bob is a Professor Emeritus from the University of Toronto Physics Department, a Fellow at the University of St. Michael’s College, and the Chief Scientist of the sLab at OCAD. This talk is specifically catering for those who have interest in both general mathematics and humanities. Bob will incorporate the pioneer communications theorist, Marshall McLuhan, and his concept of “Medium is the Message” which describes the origin of our number system and its impact on science.

Refreshments will be provided. Hope you see you there.

FB event page:

His web sites are:

Address: 30A Queen’s Park Crescent East
The Marshall McLuhan Coach House Institute is on St. Michael’s campus. It is in the parking lot behind Alumni Hall situated at 121 St Joseph St. just east of Queen’s Park Crescent East. The Coach House is a small building in the South East corner of the parking lot. Walk south along the sidewalk just to the East of Alumni Hall starting at St. Joseph Street until you reach the laneway. If you turn right at the laneway you will find the Marshall McLuhan Coach House. Here is what it looks like. 


First Math Union Guest Speaker Series (MUGS) with Jonathan Love

Join us this Tuesday on Oct 8th, 2015, 4:00-6:00PM (Talk beings at 4:30PM) for our first installment of this year’s MUGS series with Jonathan Love. Jonathan used to be the president of MU in 2012-2013. Currently he is furthering his education in the University of Toronto as a first year Master student in Mathematics. In his spare time, he plays different kinds of musical instruments and he does theater acting. His skills in music and acting and his passion in teaching, no doubt, is going to bring the classroom environment alive.
Refreshments will be provided. Hope to see you there.

Location: To be determined.

Abstract: There’s more than one way to measure size and distance in the rational numbers! After describing a few of these exotic absolute values (focusing on the p-adic absolute values for each prime number p), we’ll prove Ostrowski’s Theorem, which provides a classification of all possible absolute values on the rationals. For such a deep theorem, the proof remarkably requires no prerequisites beyond a high school math background, so this talk is especially suited for first or second year students who want to see what the proof of a significant mathematical result looks like.