Prison Math Project



PI DAY 2022

9.00am-7.30pm Pacific (PDT)

Submit a question for the speakers:

Latest Message: 2 months, 1 week ago
  • Judith : Congratulations on this excellent venture!
  • Ruth Utnage : Thank you!
  • Peter Mark : Great work!!
  • Peter Mark : Congratulations to all of you!
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : Tim and I both went to ISU around the same time.
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : Joyati is Tim's long time friend
  • guest_7061 : Jeffrey Weeks, geometer, wrote the book The Shape of the Universe, about possible geometries of the universe.
  • Ray_A : ... so I'm guessing that, given enough time, the Greeks would have been making great circles and doing all the other 'non'Euclidian stuff anyway ... and not have had a problem with it.
  • Ray_A : But Geometry means 'measuring the earth' and the Greeks knew the earth was a sphere, so Euclid would have had to have known that to measure the area of any large area on the real earth, that 'non'Euclidian geometry would have been the only game in town.
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : Thank you, Tim, my ISU friend!
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : Here is the website:
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : I see 6
  • Ray_A : Yeah, he didn't, but I'd still speculate that's simply because he felt no need to bother. I doubt 'non'-Euclidian geometry would bother him in the least.
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : I see 6
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : I see 4
  • Peter Mark : You're right, Ray_A. But he never articulated an alternative geometry that used the first 4 axioms and an alternative, different version of the 5th, which leads to spherical and/or projective geometry. That didn't happen until the 19th century, when Gauss, Bolyai, Lobachevsky, etc. worked out the details of that.
  • Ray_A : Dunno, maybe it's just me, but I've always considered non-Euclidian geometry to be un-revolutionary and no threat to the absoluteness of Euclid at all. It's just that Euclid didn't bother to state the obvious, namely that his truths apply to flat space. I suspect that if someone pointed out to him that the interior angles of a triangle on the surface of a sphere don't add up to 180, he'd say 'so what?'
  • Heath Boston : Bravo Ruth, well said.
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : Thank you Amy! What a great presentation!
  • Tom Bates : Is it known how/why such a system developed, the motivation or something in their history or culture?
  • guest_6992 : Are there other civilizations that had non-uniqueness in their representations of numbers?
  • Ruth Utnage : Some ancient civilizations held the belief that some numbers were "holy" and their number system reflected that, does the Mayan number system have something similar?
  • Glen : If anyone has questions about what's in the talk post them here and we will get to them at the end. Thanks for tuning in!
  • Ruth Utnage : Welcome!
  • guest_3928 : Hi from one of Amy's EMU students!
  • guest_2564 : Yeah 🙂
  • Ruth Utnage : guest_2564, really?!?
  • guest_2564 : Hey thats my professor!
  • Tom Bates : Is this published stuff?
  • Tom Bates : Is this published
  • Ruth Utnage : You're amazing Michael!
  • Tom Bates : Stunning.
  • guest_7061 : Does every self-similar tiling require a ratio = the reciprocal square root of golden ratio?
  • Ruth Utnage : WHOA!
  • guest_8566 : Those subdivisions are beautiful
  • Peter Mark : YES
  • Kristina Ashley : So many amazing people presenting here at PI Day!!
  • Peter Mark : 2 pi
  • Bryan B : Remind me; when you express the exponential function, it's made of two trig functions, and what's their frequency again?
  • Bryan B : Any thoughts on the connections of graph laplacian's and the game states at the end?
  • guest_7061 : Is anyone contemplating the Game of Cycles on non-planar graphs?
  • Alissa : Any questions for Francis? Please share them here!
  • GG : Yes. And I think there is no bounding “outside” face.
  • Tom Bates : Since big boards are allowed is it known how the complexity compare to go?
  • mathemagician26 : So a "cell" is a face?
  • Tom Bates : Is there a limit to how big the "board" is?
  • mathemagician26 : Why does the game require a planar graph specifically?
  • Tom Bates : Any limits on how big of "boards are?
  • guest_5173 : Is there a winning strategy for either player on that grid?
  • Ruth Utnage : I always love seeing what positive things come from the restrictions of prisons. Nothing like limited resources to make one creative.
  • Ruth Utnage : Check out Frances Su's Book: Mathematics for Human Flourishing
  • guest_9478 : great jokes.
  • guest_4111 : Loved the shout-out to the PMP newsletter. Check it out for not only math nerdity but also for stirring personal stories of transformation.
  • Glen : Anyone who has questions during Carsten's talk please post them here and we will bring them up at the end.
  • Emily K. : Loving this program!
  • guest_2807 : Thanks Tom.
  • guest_2807 : Thanks Tom
  • Tom Bates : The processing dot org site is a great place to find software one can use to math mathematically inspired art. The processing package is free and Java based. I've used in STEAM classes I've done in the past.
  • Alex : If you are interested in the website that Tom Bates referenced which has integer sequences, it is the on-line encyclopedia of integer sequences (OEIS). The website is oeis dot org.
  • Alex : Jeffrey Weeks hosts a website with geometry games. The website is geometrygames dot org
  • Alex :
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : What great talk connecting mathematics and art! Thank you Tom.
  • Sommer : I've been feeling both mathematically and artistically blocked lately; great inspiration here to break out of a rut. Thanks Tom!
  • Peter Mark : These images are amazing!
  • guest_9478 : Nice work!
  • guest_2807 : Where can we grab the code to do this?
  • Glen : OK, if you have questions on either the prior part or this one post them here and we will get to them at the end of this segment
  • Jacenta : Beautiful
  • guest_2807 : Benoit, move over.
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : yes, like Mandelbrot sets.
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : Nice talks all of them.
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : Yes, like Mandelbrot sets.
  • Ruth Utnage : If someone wanted to get started creating art from mathematics using just a few basic colors and paper (no technology), what would you recommend be a good starting point? If any?
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : These are incredibly pretty dynamic videos! Loved them.
  • guest_2807 : Starts to look like Mandelbrot set
  • Ebenezer : This is really cool!
  • Ruth Utnage : Hi guest_6394
  • guest_6394 : Hello
  • guest_6394 : .
  • Glen : Anyone watching is welcome to chime in here with questions. We'll get to them after each of Tom's segments
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : Very cool!
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : Yes, we can hear you.
  • guest_6306 : I can't see, but we can hear you
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : Yes we can
  • Ruth Utnage : dilettante
  • Ruth Utnage : is that spelled:
  • Ruth Utnage : I love Pascal's Triangle!!!!
  • Ruth Utnage : I, too, discovered I loved math. It didn't come natural for me.
  • Joyati Debnath, WSU : I agree with everything Robin and Alissa said!
  • Joyati Debnath, Wino : I learned a lot too!
  • jp allouche : Nice talk Jeff! thanks
  • Ruth Utnage : WOW!
  • Joyati Debnath, Wino : What an awesome presentation!
  • Amit Sahai : Beautiful talk!
  • Ruth Utnage : Yeah, he's fantastic! I agree Joyati!
  • Joyati Debnath, Wino : Loving the talk by Jeffrey!
  • guest_2633 : Yes, we can hear it.
  • Tom Bates : Awesome connection of math to art!
  • Alissa : Questions for Jeffrey? Post them here!
  • guest_2807 : Hi Mrs. Funk!
  • Jacenta : Happy Pi Day 🥧
  • Ruth Utnage : Hi Diya France! Great you could join us. I was hoping you could make it.
  • DiyaFrance : Hello
  • jp allouche :
  • Ruth Utnage : THANK YOU QUINCY!!
  • Ruth Utnage : THANK YOU ENRICO!!!!
  • guest_9000 : Oh yes, I see now. I should have read it more carefully. Thanks.
  • guest_9000 : Question: What is the underlying distribution of the RNA rate study? Are you using binomial distribution or another assumption for your bayesian model?
  • Ruth Utnage : Enrico, what careers are really ppicking up those who study statistics?
  • Event Squad : Please post your questions here. Test edit, ignore this edit.
  • guest_9478 : super awesome! Thanks!
  • Alissa : Bob--A random sequence of odd digits does not contain "24" but it is still random. So, there's no contradiction. Does that address your concern?
  • Alissa : Please post any questions for Enrico here and we'll ask them after the talk!
  • Sommer : The book "How to Lie with Statistics" is also a great source for convincing people that stats aren't boring after all.
  • guest_2807 : Alissa: Bob: but if it were not true then we'd be saying that a random string of digits would be somehow forbidden to produce an arbitrary string. It's self-contradictory.
  • Kristaps : I certainly felt this way during my undergrad in pure math. I wish I had a different attitude then, and took some stats courses. Now that I've seen some of what goes in stats at the higher level is really fascinating!
  • Alissa : Bob--your question is great! It's suspected to be true, but not yet proven. So it's still an open problem!
  • Ruth Utnage : got it! thanks!
  • guest_2807 : It is logically necessary, no?
  • guest_3065 : Ruth, I just emailed you. Enjoy Sri/Madison College
  • Bob : Is it true that any finite numeric sequence can be found in Pi?
  • Umberto Fugiglando : Hello! I participated in the celebration in Monroe in 2018, and seeing the project grow to this scale is simply impressive. Well done Chris and team!
  • Ruth Utnage : guest_3065, can you email to me at ruth at pmathp dot org
  • guest_3065 : Ruth, I have posted the link, hope it works?
  • guest_3065 :
  • guest_2807 : This is the God-Moderator speaking: somebody say something untoward that I might smite their comment with furious vengeance!
  • Norton : Guest_3141 should win a prize. Maybe and extra slice of pie...
  • Ruth Utnage : Guest_3065, can you post a link here to that debate?
  • guest_3065 : We also had Pi eating contest with awards to men and women students at Madison College!
  • guest_3065 : Have you watched The great Pi vs e debate on You Tube. We have invited these mathematicians from Williams College
  • guest_5173 : It might be correlated with the surge in math circles for little kids.
  • guest_3065 : Sri from Madison WI
  • Event Squad : if you have questions for our speakers, please type them here.
  • guest_2807 : testing
  • Ruth Utnage : Try refreshing your screen?
  • Norton : Video has not started for me. Do I need to do something?
  • Liz McPi : Hi, everyone! Glad to be here.
  • Ruth Utnage : Hello Everyone! Welcome to Pi Day 2022!!!! Thank you for joining us!!
  • Peter Mark : Greetings from Seattle!
  • guest_1322 : Welcome everyone!! Happy Pi Day!!
  • Norton : No longer guest_8065
  • guest_8065 : Here
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Discussion room forums:

Our speakers and schedule:

Peter Mark

Cultore Dei Materie


Christopher Havens

Stopping Time With Pi 09:30am - 9:40am

Ian Stewart

Encounters With Sierpinski's Gasket
10:10am - 11:10am

Amy Shell-Gellasch

Mathematical Devices at the Smithsonian: An Insider's View
11:15am - 12:15pm

Amit Sahai

An Introduction to Zero-Knowledge Proofs: Doing the Impossible With Mathematics
12:20pm - 12:50pm

Gary Gordon

Math Contest Problems: The Good, the Bad, and the Unsolvable
1:00pm - 1:50pm

Timothy Pennings

Do Dogs Know Calculus? (Bifurcations at the Beach)
2:00pm - 3:00pm

Glen Van Brummelen

Double Vision
3:15pm - 4:15pm

Liz McMahon

The Mathematics Behind the Card Game SET
4:20pm - 5:05pm

Claire Finlayson

Teaching the Math-Hesitant: A Case Study
5:15pm - 5:45pm

Tom Edgar

Numerical Systems for Recreational Mathematics
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Tom Bates

Sequences on Parade
11:35 am- 12:30pm
12:30pm - 12:40pm Q&A

Carsten Elsner (FHDW Hannover - Germany)

On Errorsums
1:05pm - 1:35pm
1:35pm - 1:40pm Q&A

Enrico Bibbona (Politecnico Di Torino - Italy)

Is Statistics Boring?
9:30am - 10:00am
10:00am - 10:10am Q&A

Jeffrey Shallit (University of Waterloo - Ontario Canada)

The Ubiquitous Thue-Morse Sequence
10:20am - 11:05am
11:05am - 11:15am Q&A


Walker Blackwell

Prison Mathematics Project

1:50pm - 2:00pm

Amit Sahai

Prison Mathematics Project

3:10pm - 3:20pm

Francis Su (Harvey Mudd College - United States)

The Game of Cycles
2:00pm - 3:00pm
3:00pm - 3:10pm Q&A

Michael Barnsley (Australia)

Pi and the Golden Bee
3:25pm - 3:55pm
3:55pm - 4:05pm Q&A

Amy Shell-Gellasch (Eastern Michigan University - United States) with Otis (left) and Murphy (Right)

The Very "Unique" Mayan Number System 4:20pm - 5:20pm
5:20pm - 5:30pm Q&A

Tim Pennings (Davenport University - United States) and Elvis

Battle of the Titans: Mathematics versus Truth
5:45pm - 6:45pm
6:45pm - 6:50pm Q&A

Tom Edgar


Quincy Dawson


Glen Whitney


Alex Barrios


Torina Lewis


Gary Gordon


Robin Wilson


Alissa Crans



Christopher Havens

Prison Mathematics Project

Ruth Utnage

Prison Mathematics Project