PSU Mark
Eberly College of Science Mathematics Department

Meeting Details

For more information about this meeting, contact Svetlana Katok, Becky Halpenny, Flossie Dunlop.

Title:A short history of length
Seminar:PMASS Colloquium
Speaker:Joel C. Langer, Case Western Reserve University
Abstract:
A handy old device called a waywiser - basically a wheel and axle mounted on a handle - may be used to measure the length of a path, straight or curved. If the wheel is one meter in circumference, the waywiser measures the length of the path in meters by counting revolutions of the wheel as it is walked from beginning to end of the path. It works well enough in practice - but does it also work in theory? In fact, the waywiser and the concept of arc length may be used to illustrate both successes of ancient geometers and some of the struggles faced by subsequent mathematicians and philosophers in coming to terms with innity, innite processes and associated computations. The story of arc length alternates between geometry and the theory of numbers, between the continuous and the discrete, over two thousand years.

Room Reservation Information

Room Number:MB113
Date:04 / 18 / 2013
Time:02:30pm - 03:20pm