Recreational Mathematics Seminar

Recreational Mathematics is a broad term that covers many different areas including games, puzzles, magic, and art, as defined by the corresponding Special Interests Group of the MAA (SIGMAA). The fact that it studies the math behind various entertaining subjects, doesn’t make it less serious or formal. Part of the magic of Recreational Mathematics is that it is appealing to non-mathematical audiences, yet there’s really deep math involved, including problems that have not been solved. Thus, this branch of mathematics works great to attract young students towards mathematics research.

The goal of the Recreational Mathematics Seminar is to promote this field.

The seminar will be running virtually during the Fall 2020.


  • September 11, 4 pm

Title: When the Maker Wins

Speaker: Joe Quinn

Abstract: First we will talk about the roll of artificial intelligence in mathematics, and Thurston’s notion of what constitutes a proof. We’ll look at the famous four color theorem, proven using AI, but for which there is still no proof that a human can read. Then we’ll focus on a particular unsuccessful idea that was invented in attempt to prove the four color theorem using game theory, which I call Maker versus Breaker. This will make room for us to play some fun games, and dig into some problems that have still not been solved, by AI or otherwise.

Click here to join the seminar on Zoom

  • October 12, 4 pm – Chris Hanusa


November 2019 – The Mathematics of Origami, by Laura Jimenez (KU)

October 2019 – Building Real Mathematical Surfaces, by Maria Monera (University of Valencia)

Spring 2019 – Diana Davis