Mathematical Adventures

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Speaker: Stephen DeBacker, University of Michigan/SCU
Title: The Eight Color Theorem: Genus Loves Coloring

Via Zoom at 7:30 pm April 2, 2024

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Meeting ID: 947 7991 3363  Password: 734929
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You may have heard that it takes just 4 colors to color any map on a globe so that neighboring countries get different colors. This is a celebrated but, as far as I know, humanly impossible-to- verify fact (1976). It turns out that for surfaces with holes (such as a donut), the coloring question has an elegant solution. A surface with holes is said to have genus n. In this talk we discuss the fact (1890) that genus one surfaces are 7-colorable and genus two surfaces are 8-colorable.

As an undergraduate at Santa Clara University, Stephen DeBacker was inspired to pursue mathematics by renowned teaching masters Gerald Alexanderson and Paul Halmos. He tries to pay forward some small part of his debt to these great teachers by working to inspire the next generation of scholars. In 2011 he was appointed as an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and current serves as the Halmos Distinguished Visiting Professor at Santa Clara University.

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