Constructible Numbers: An Introduction to Algebraic Structures

Greek geometers puzzled over the figures which they could construct using only a traditional compass and straightedge, but they puzzled even harder over the figures which seemed impossible to construct using those same tools. Given a circle, is it possible to construct a square with exactly the same area? Given a cube, is it possible to construct another one with exactly twice the volume? After two millennia, it turned out that these kinds of geometric questions could be answered in purely algebraic terms. This talk will introduce students to basic notions of algebraic structures via traditional compass and straightedge constructions in two dimensions.

The material presented in the talk will be entirely self-contained; no prior knowledge of or background in mathematics will be assumed.

Free pizza!

Date: April 15
Time: Noon – 1:00 PM
Place: Exely 139