Event Type:

REU Colloquium

Date/Time:

Friday, August 7, 2020 - 10:00 to 10:45

Location:

Zoom - Email Holly for Link

Local Speaker:

Abstract:

Is this the most elementary presentation topic you have ever seen? You

may be surprised.

What method might someone choose for determining whether or not two

fractions are equal, and is it valid? There are several possibilities

that are a priori varyingly credible or conclusive.

Not wanting to spill the beans for audience participation, I maintain

there is a very delicate mathematical issue here, something powerful but

sufficiently subtle that it tends early to become invisible to a

mathematician, by assuming intuitive second nature. For others it

remains entirely outside conscious awareness, despite perhaps being used

occasionally in practice without question.

Gauss, Euler, and Euclid all shed light on the question. So is the

biggest secret of fractions too complicated for school or street? Quick,

does 23/67 equal 33/97, and why?