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Donald A. Buckeye Endowed Lecture

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

4:00 pm in 213 Pray-Harrold

"Infinite Fun with Exponents"

Dr. Abraham Edwards, Michigan State University

Abstract:  If you were like me as a kid, you probably punched some numbers in a calculator and wondered, “what happens if I just keep pressing the equals sign?” Leonard Euler asked himself a similar question: What happens if you keep raising a number to a power over and over again? You might think the result would simply tend toward infinity. However, Euler showed that there are some numbers which, under the operation of infinitely repeated exponentiation, yield very interesting results. In this talk we’ll explore these numbers, and then extend our ideas about infinite exponentiation into the world of complex numbers. Interesting history, fun with calculators, and beautiful images guaranteed.

Speaker Bio:  Dr. Abraham Edwards works in the Lyman Briggs College within Michigan State University, teaching undergraduate mathematics while researching the history of math. He partners with a unique mix of scientists, philosophers, sociologists, and historians to bridge the sciences and humanities through interdisciplinary teaching and research. Recipient of the Michigan MAA Distinguished Teaching Award (2022), he enjoys teaching from primary source texts and leads a summer study abroad program in Europe focused on the history of mathematics.

Questions contact Dr. Amy Shell-Gellasch at [email protected].

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Mission and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The mission of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics is to instill an appreciation of the intrinsic beauty, the diverse origins, and the practical aspects of mathematics and statistics.

To this end, the department:

  • provides students well-balanced academic programs at the baccalaureate and master's degree levels;
  • functions as a scholarly unit promoting faculty and student research; and
  • serves as a resource for mathematical expertise to the university and to the larger community.

More specifically, the department dedicates itself to:

  • providing the highest quality educational experience possible to undergraduate and graduate students within the majors and minors in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and to students enrolled in General Education Program courses and service courses for other programs;
  • fostering involvement in research by both students and faculty; and
  • providing meaningful service to the EMU academic community, to the disciplines of our faculty, to the broader mathematical and statistical community, and to the local and regional communities.

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics supports the Diversity and Inclusion statement of the College of Arts and Sciences.

One of the responsibilities of a public university is to instantiate the ideals of equity, freedom, and justice, while cultivating a well-informed populace capable of critical thinking and creative innovation. In service to these principles, the EMU College of Arts and Sciences recognizes that it is only through fostering a diverse and affirming campus community that includes all students, instructors, staff, and faculty that these goals might be achieved.  In the interest of accomplishing these ends, the College shall endeavor, within each of its represented disciplines, to more fully account for the contributions or counter-narratives of previously neglected and marginalized groups, including but not limited to groups who differ by race and ethnicity, country of origin, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, and the intersection of these identities.

The Department of Mathematics supports the Black Lives Matter statement of the Michigan Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

The Michigan MAA supports Black Lives Matter and dismantling systems of racism and oppression. The Michigan MAA Statement on Black Lives affirms our support of the broader movement to end racial injustice and suggests ways that Michigan MAA members can foster justice and equity within their mathematical communities. This statement offers suggestions for making classrooms inclusive and equitable, learning about race and ethnicity in mathematics, and supporting organizations dedicated to racial justice and equity within the mathematics community.

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Eastern Michigan University is a departmental/institutional member of the National Association of Mathematicians, the Association for Women in Mathematics, the Mathematical Association of America, and the American Mathematical Society.

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