Event Detail

Event Type: 
REU Colloquium
Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 10:00 to 11:00
LINC 268 with remote option

Speaker Info

Local Speaker: 

Imagine you are sitting around a table with friends ready for an awesome board game you are excited to play. Now, how will you decide who will go first? The problem of choosing a single person out of a group comes up a lot. In films and TV shows drawing straws (or sticks) comes up so often that it is considered a trope, and this method even dates back to Greek mythology! But what if you don't have sticks, or dice, or a coin, or are just too lazy to get up? What if some players are in the bathroom or don't feel like participating? Is there a quick, easy, and fair way to choose a starting player? The answer is YES, provided that players with finger mobility issues have an alternate method for displaying a chosen number. Here, we present a method that will work for most situations and achieves our loftiest goals. Perhaps surprisingly, important theorems in abstract algebra underlie the success of this method.