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Magic with Mathematics' topic for UNI lecture Thursday, April 3

March 27, 2003

Edward Rathmell, UNI professor of mathematics, (319) 273-2631
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing and Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa will host the second Hari Shankar Lecture in Mathematics Thursday, April 3. Mathematician Ed Burger will present 'Magic with Mathematics: Is the Formula Faster than the Eye?' at 7 p.m., in Rooms 244-245 of UNI's Schindler Education Center.

The program, free and open to the public, is focused toward families, and no knowledge of mathematics is required. A reception will follow the lecture.

Burger, who has written jokes for Jay Leno and appeared on NBC and NPR, strives to make math funny through his presentations, according to Ed Rathmell, UNI interim head and professor of mathematics. 'Math is around us all the time, but we usually don't recognize it,' Rathmell said. 'Burger will demonstrate that math is associated with many aspects of life in a way that is lively and humorous.'

Burger is the Stanislaw M. Ulam Visiting Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Colorado. He is the author of many books, including the best-selling book, 'The Heart of Mathematics: An invitation to effective thinking.'

Of his presentation, Burger said, 'No mathematics will be explicitly mentioned. If you hate mathematics, this presentation is for you. If the thought of an equation makes you ill, this talk is for you. If you never thought you would ever go to a mathematics lecture, this event is for you.'

The address is the second in a series of lectures by prominent mathematicians. The series was conceived by Hari Shankar, a visiting professor in the UNI mathematics department since 1996, and is funded in part by Shankar and by the UNI Department of Mathematics. The reception is supported by USbank and the Northeast Iowa Indian Association.