Persi Diaconis of Stanford speaks tomorrow, 4pm, in Van Vleck room B102, on “From Magic to Mathematics and Back”:
“Sometimes the way that magic tricks work is even more amazing than the tricks themselves. Professor Diaconis will illustrate with tricks that fool magicians (demonstrations provided). The tricks depend on hidden mathematics: combinatorics and group theory (the talk is aimed at a general audience). The math behind the tricks has applications to secret codes, decoding DNA, robot vision and much else. Changing the tricks leads to math problems beyond our current understanding.”
He’ll also be giving colloquium on Friday. For people outside math: you might have heard of Diaconis as the guy who proved that it takes seven shuffles to randomize a deck of cards. And that coincidences aren’t surprising.