April 2015

Sandra Spiroff (University of Mississippi): Unique factorization and a roll of the dice

Starting from the familiar factorization of integers into prime numbers, we extend the concept of unique factorization to polynomials and beyond.  In particular, we will discuss how unique factorization, or the lack of it, probably jeopardized early attempts to prove Fermat's Last Theorem, and we will learn an interesting application to the  probabilities associated with rolling a pair of dice.  If time permits, we will run some experiments and play the casino game of Craps.  The mathematical difficulty of the majority of this talk is high school algebra, and many examples will be given.

April 21, 2015, Lusa Pastry Café, 6pm - 7pm.