Paradoxes have been defined whimsically as "truth standing on its head to attract attention to itself." More precisely, they involve seemingly correct reasoning from seemingly valid assumptions leading to seemingly absurd conclusions. This talk will present an argument for the use of paradoxes in the learning and teaching of mathematics, as a means of rousing interest and sharpening reasoning skills. A few examples are presented, ranging from a straightforward but surprising application of the Pythagorean Theorem, to the diabolical problem of two envelopes, to the sinister paradox of Newcomb. No knowledge of advanced mathematics is required of the listener.
- October 1, 4–5 p.m. (refreshments at 3:30)
- Hyde Hall 318
- Presenter: Larry Blaine, Department of Mathematics