A Double Header

Update:  Due to the weather and the closing of the University on Jan. 28th, Frank Morgan’s talks are rescheduled for February 18th.

Here at OU Math Blog HQ we’re very excited about our third Math Club event of 2010.  On

Thursday, Febuary 18th

there is not one, but two talks by Dr. Frank Morgan of Williams College (and pizza, of course!).

Dr. Morgan in action! (Photo courtesy of Jeff Bauer of Citco)

Why are we so excited?  And, more importantly, why should you be excited?  Well, there’s a list for that!

  1. Dr. Morgan does cool math.  He works in minimal surfaces (e.g. the shape soap bubbles on various wire shapes) and studies the behavior and structure of minimizers in various dimensions and settings.

    Photo by John M. Sullivan, Technical University of Berlin and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  2. He is famous for his skills in talking about interesting math.  He’s even had a TV show called Math Chat!  Check out the book which came from his TV show is here.
  3. His first talk (at 4 pm in PHSC 1105) is about the famous Poincare Conjecture, which we’ve talked about here.  The title and abstract is:
  4. “From Soap Bubbles to the Poincaré Conjecture”

    Abstract:  A single round soap bubble provides the least-area way to enclose a given volume. How does the solution change if space is given some symmetric positive density like r^2 or e^-r^2 that weights both area and volume? Such densities appear prominently in Perelman’s paper proving the Poincaré Conjecture. No prerequisites; undergraduates welcome.

  5. His second talk (at 5 pm in PHSC 1105) is about math and baseball, which we’ve talked about here.  The title and abstract is:
  6. “Baserunner’s Optimal Path”

    Abstract:  When you hit that final long ball in the World Series of Baseball and know you need the home run, what is your optimal path around the bases?

  7. Last, but not least, Dr. Morgan is a fellow math blogger!

Although talented, Frank Morgan is no wizard:

The other Frank Morgan


17 thoughts on “A Double Header

  1. This sounds like an interesting lecture. I’m looking forward to attending his lecture on Thursday!

  2. He does sound very interesting. I’ve never heard about using the math of soap bubbles to help study minimizing surfaces.

  3. I will be at the first talk. I wish I could go to both, but I have a conflict. Still, using soap bubbles as a mathematical tool has got to be fun right?

  4. Yeah this sounds pretty awesome. Are there going to be soap bubble demonstrations or are we going to have to use our imaginations?

    • Dr. Morgan,

      Thanks for stopping by! Hopefully the weather won’t cause problems for your trip.

  5. I am really interested in the baseball talk. I played college baseball for four years before I came to OU. So I am really interested in what he will say about baserunning.

  6. I remember a few years back looking into “Taxicab Geometry” about finding the optimal travel path between two points. I’d be interested to see if the base running path is based in similar logic.

  7. This is pretty cool! Its pretty amazing when someone can bring enlightenment and interest to math like this. I’m really looking forward to this when does the math club normally meet isn’t it on wednesdays?

  8. The baserunner’s optimal path concept seems intriguing. I would be interested to see some of the variants, like the optimal double path, or with the constraint of staying within 3 feet of the baseline.

    Has there been any word on whether this will be postponed or canceled due to inclement weather?

  9. My Dear New Friends, So sorry that the weather came between us. I managed to get to Dallas and was about to rent a car to drive to Norman when I got word that the university had closed for the week. I barely made it home. Hope to meet you some time in the future.


    Frank Morgan

    • Dr. Morgan,

      Glad to hear you made it home safely. Hopefully we’ll see you soon!

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