Evolution of an Intriguing Recreational Math Problem (Shawn McMurran, California State University San Bernardino)
February 21 @ 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Title: Evolution of an Intriguing Recreational Math Problem
Speaker: Shawn McMurran, California State University San Bernardino
Abstract: Besides being popular and entertaining, recreational mathematics problems are often of historical interest. In this presentation we will highlight the origin and evolution of one such simply stated yet deep problem. The problem emerged during the eighteenth century tucked into a primarily standard arithmetic text. Over the next two centuries, several notable names contributed to a growing collection of extensions, generalizations, and solution strategies. In more recent years, relatives of this versatile problem have remained ubiquitous. It is likely that most audience members are familiar with at least one of its incarnations. During our journey, opportunities will be provided for the audience to engage with the problem and some of its variations.
Shawn McMurran is a professor of mathematics at California State University San Bernardino. She earned her PhD in mathematics from UC Riverside with a background in PDEs. Current areas of interest include mathematics education and history of mathematics. She and her colleague Jim Tattersall have enjoyed many years of collaboration on math history projects, including the subject of this presentation.