MAT194: Mathematics Seminar


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MAT194: Mathematics Seminar (Spring 2021)


Each topic will have its own page. Each of you is expected to make some contributions to each project page. The cool thing about a wiki is that many people can collaborate to create the final product. There is also a history, which shows exactly who made each change -- so take care! Big Brother is watching...:)

Topic #1: Pascal's Triangle


I argue that most of us became interested in mathematics because we were identified as good at it. Frequently that was while playing some game, or observing patterns (strategies, etc.).

  • When he was 7-years-old, my nephew Thomas told me that he likes the math he'd been doing. When I asked him what he likes about it, he gave as an example the following problem:
    "All girls have green hair; Rachel is a girl. What do you know about Rachel?"

    (By the way, I believe he was insulting his sister Rachel at the time....)

So patterns are where it's at. And among patterns, the one we examine first is one of the oldest, and among the most famous and important.

Pascal's triangle

Many of you are already familiar with Pascal's triangle. It starts with a 1, and then tumbles down like green hair falling down one's shoulders.

It's much older than Pascal, however: frequently a name is granted an object based not on priority, but rather on someone who popularized a thing -- and that might be the case with this triangle.

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