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Interactive Talk on Combinatorics with Po-Shen Loh

Interactive Talk on Combinatorics with Po-Shen Loh

6 July 2019
  • News

When Bare Hands Fail

On the Monday 22nd July, the G-Research Distinguished Speaker Series will return with an interactive talk from Po-Shen Loh, in celebration of G-Research’s gold sponsorship of the IMO 2019. Hosted at the Royal College of Physicians, the talk will run from 6pm and will end with a Q&A session followed by a drinks and canapé  reception.

Many people associate Combinatorics with elementary, ad-hoc arguments that are understandable by a primary-school child. Indeed, that is one of the aspects which makes Combinatorics fascinating: that a solution composed of a chain of (albeit fantastically clever) bare-hands steps can be so difficult to find, yet is easy to follow once it is found. However, this is not universally true, and indeed, many modern combinatorial problems are solved by importing theorems and techniques from other branches of mathematics, such as algebra, probability, or even topology.

In this interactive talk, entitled ‘When Bare Hands Fail’, we will use one of the most difficult problems from a recent USA Mathematical Olympiad exam to illustrate some of these connections. Po-Shen will also comment on Math Olympiads in general, as well as some particulars of the USA’s recent Olympiad strategy, which has been to move away from elementary Olympiad mathematics, in favour of drawing connections to mathematics beyond the Olympiad curriculum.

Click here to register your attendance. Guests are welcome to bring a +1. Please note, however, that spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis.

About the Speaker:

Po-Shen Loh is a social entrepreneur, working across the full spectrum of mathematics and education, all around the world. He is a mathematics professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and the national coach of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad team. His research and educational outreach takes him to cities across the world, reaching an annual in-person audience of over 10,000 people through public lectures and events, and he has featured in or co-created videos totalling over 5 million YouTube views. He has been continually involved in math competitions since he was a contestant in the 1990’s, when he represented the United States of America as a contestant at the International Mathematical Olympiad. He is also the founder of the free personalized learning platform, an education technology start-up social enterprise which algorithmically curates openly licensed math/science lessons and problems contributed by the world.

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