[ASC-list] VIC RMIT presents Margaret Wertheim free public lecture January 14

Claire Farrugia claire.a.farrugia at gmail.com
Wed Jan 6 04:37:03 UTC 2016


*Corals, carbon and the cosmos*

In this multifaceted talk bridging the domains of mathematics and culture, 
science writer and exhibition curator Margaret Wertheim will discuss the 
story of hyperbolic space.

*Date*: 14 Jan 2016 Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

*Venue*: Swanston Academic Building (Building 80), Level 2, Room 2, City 
Campus 

Find out more about the event 
<http://www.rmit.edu.au/events/all-events/public-lectures/2016/january/corals-carbon-and-the-cosmos/>

Register for the event  
<https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/corals-carbon-and-the-cosmos-tickets-20048084360>

Throughout the natural world – in corals, cactuses, sea-slugs and lettuce 
leaves – we see swooping, curving and crenelated forms. All these are 
biological manifestations of hyperbolic geometry, an alternative to the 
Euclidean geometry we learn about in school. While nature has been playing 
with permutations of hyperbolic space for hundreds of millions of years, 
mathematicians spent centuries trying to prove that such forms were 
impossible. The discovery of hyperbolic geometry in the nineteenth century 
helped to usher in a mathematical revolution, giving rise to new ways of 
mapping and analysing curved surfaces. Such “non-Euclidean geometry” now 
underlies the general theory of relativity and our understanding of the 
universe.

If the cosmos may be a hyperbolic manifold, at the molecular level carbon 
atoms can assemble into hyperbolic lattices, giving rise to exotic new 
materials. Meanwhile, on the Great Barrier Reef, the corals making 
hyperbolic structures are being threatened by global warming and the human 
deluge of carbon into our oceans. In this multifaceted talk bridging the 
domains of mathematics and culture, science writer and exhibition curator 
Margaret Wertheim will discuss the story of hyperbolic space. How do 
hyperbolic forms arise in nature, in technology, and in art? And what might 
we learn about alternative possibilities for being from a mathematical 
discovery that redefined our concept of parallel lines.

This talk is being presented in conjunction with AMSI’s annual mathematics 
graduate student Summer School, at which Ms Wertheim will also be speaking 
about the subject of women and mathematics.
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