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How Does High School Algebra Prepare You For A Circus Career?

The Mathematics of Juggling

Presenter: Dr. Will Murray, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Date: November 8, 2018
Time: Registration & Reception: 6:30pm | Presentation: 7:00pm
Location: The Chartroom

How does high school algebra prepare you for a career in the circus? Mathematician and juggler extraordinaire Will Murray will demonstrate "site-swap", a notation that circus performers use to create new juggling routines. We will prove an elegant theorem that the number of juggling patterns of period n with b balls is bn. Except that this theorem is fake news. To fix it, we will recall high school algebra, where we learned to factor polynomials down into irreducible ones. We'll find that the (correct) formula to count juggling patterns is the same as the one to count irreducible polynomials!

Born and raised in Virginia, CSULB professor, Dr. Will Murray discovered his love of juggling from an early age. After earning his bachelor's degree in Japanese at Georgetown University, he went on to pursue his Ph.D in Mathematics from UC Berkeley. Currently at CSULB he specializes in abstract algebra and provides guidance to mathematics undergraduates through his advising role at The Beach. When he's not studying and evaluating mathematical equations in the classroom, you can catch him juggling in venues around the world. He has performed on five continents in addition to being featured in the National Circus of Laos, the San Francisco Opera, the Convención Latina de Circo in Bogotá, Der Spiegel magazine, and the Afghan National Juggling Championships. You may have even seen his pet scorpion on America's Got Talent. His passion for mathematics and juggling translates through the numerous articles and lectures he's given about the connection between mathematical equations and the art of juggling.

Registration coming soon.

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