Math Seminars

The Grand Rapids Community College Mathematics Department is pleased to announce that it will host presentations by two current students at its final Mathematics Seminars of academic year 2016-2017. 

The first seminar features José Garcia, who will discuss “The Origins of Numbers” on Tuesday, April 18, 3-4 PM in 103 Cook.  This talk should appeal to those with an interest in mathematics, mathematics education and history.  Jose’s abstract follows.

The Origins of Numbers

Every time we wonder if there is enough money to buy that new iPad AND groceries, numbers are used. We take for granted what it means to do basic arithmetic and, even more so, why the numbers came to be the way they are.  Come join us in looking into the origins of numbers and why they look the way they do today!


Our second talk will be given by Jeff Powers.  His topic, “The Open Gate of Mathematics: From the Alhambra to Escher”, will be presented Thursday, April 20, 3-4 PM in 103 Cook.  In addition to those with a love of mathematics and its teaching, this talk should be of interest to anyone who appreciates art and beauty.  Jeff’s abstract provides more information.

The Open Gate of Mathematics: From the Alhambra to Escher

In 1922, a 24-year-old artist named M.C. Escher visited the Alhambra, a 13th-century Moorish fortress and palace in Granada, Spain. The stunning Islamic design and geometric patterns overwhelmed the young artist, who began a 50-year obsession with dividing the plane. Today, Escher’s name is synonymous with tessellations, symmetry, and impossible shapes. His art’s mathematical structure has affected fields as far-reaching as combinatorics, graph theory, non-Euclidean geometry, and crystallography. This seminar focuses on Escher’s exploration of the two-dimensional plane and his link to the Moorish artisans of the past, begging the question: Were these artists doing math? 

Both talks will be accessible to a wide range of students, faculty and administrators.  As always, everyone is welcome to attend.  Assorted refreshments will be available at 2:45 PM.