News & Publications
Harvard Mathematics Professor to lecture at St. John’s College
FOR RELEASE: September 20, 2011
CONTACT: Patricia Dempsey, 410-626-2539
Harvard mathematician Barry Mazur will explore “What is the Surface Area of a Hedgehog?” when he gives the Steiner Lecture at St. John’s College. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium on September 30, at 8:15p.m.
In his lecture, Mazur will discuss the different approaches to computing area and how it touches on greater mathematical thought, such as analogy, heuristic, paradox and “characterization”. No prior reading is required, but Mazur will refer during his lecture to Proposition I.37 from Euclid’s “Elements.”
Professor Mazur offers the following description of his lecture: “The concept of area is one of the many things of interest in Euclid’s ‘Elements’ and is familiar to all who have been through the freshman program at St. John’s. There are many ways to approach it. Archimedes, for example sometimes likes to convert the problem of computing area to computing something akin to weight.” Mazur will consider these approaches and how they touch on broader issues in mathematical thought such as analogy, heuristic, paradox, and something, he says, “I’ll call characterization (a version of axiomatization). As for prior reading, absolutely none (except what you may have already read in Euclid) is needed, but I will be turning again and again to Proposition 37 of Book I of the “Elements.’”
Barry Mazur, Gade University Professor, Associate of Cabot House, department of Mathematics, Harvard University, received his doctorate from Princeton University. Mazur has won numerous prizes for his works in mathematics, and is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.