Professor Sherman Stein

University of California, Davis 

Kieval Lecture

Fall, 1997

Cool Numbers, Hot Numbers, and How to Protect Yourself from the Abuse of Numbers

December 4, 1997 @ 8:00 P.M.
Science B 135

The Kieval Lecture will consider the abuse of numbers by "experts" and the role of numbers in decisions. (The lecture will be based on chapters in Professor Stein's recent book, Strength in Numbers, (MAA- Review) (Amazon Books Review) but will extend the discussion further.)

Mathematics Department Colloquium

 A Simple Question about Three Simple Polynomials

December 4, 1997 @ 4:00 p.m. - Music 130
Tea @ 3:30 p.m. - outside Library 56

Abstract: Let a, b, and c be positive integers with greatest common divisor equal to 1.
Consider the three Newton polynomials:    xa + yaxb + yb, and  xc + yc. Is the field that they generate all of the symmetric rational functions?

Algebraic tools used to respond to this question involve fields, rings, the dimension of a vector space, and the dimension of an extension. Any undergraduate mathematics student would follow the drift of this lecture and any who've had a semester of abstract algebra should be able to follow the whole talk. 

About Sherman Stein:
Sherman Stein recently retired from teaching at the University of California at Davis. His pure research is in algebra, geometry, and combinatorics. In his applied work he has written on the risk of drunk driving and the limits of mathematics in decision making. He has also designed an ecologically efficient lawn sprinkler. In addition to several high school and college texts he recently wrote a book to give everyone a chance to enjoy mathematics, "Strength in Numbers." (MAA- Review) (Amazon Books Review)