Event Type:

Lonseth Lecture

Date/Time:

Tuesday, May 24, 1994 - 05:00

Guest Speaker:

Tsit-Yuen Lam

Institution:

University of California-Berkeley

Abstract:

Mathematics, as a subject, derives its beauty from its internal consistency and sound logic. It is thus axiomatic that the proofs and argumentations used in the development of mathematics be absolutely accurate and error-free. Yet the history of mathematics is replete with instances of false starts, half-truths, and incomplete or downright erroneous arguments. Even the greatest of mathematicians are known to have erred in their proofs. In the talk, Professor Lam will give a light-hearted view of some of the famous (or infamous) errors made in the long history of mathematics. Along the way, he will also comment on the pedagogical values of mistakes in mathematics, and discuss ways by which we may try to minimize our mistakes.