Today, Professor Helliwell kicked off this year’s colloquium with an introduction to taxicab geometry.
It’s challenging to develop a strong undergraduate mathematics community, simply because of the extreme difference a year’s worth of experience can mean in terms of mathematical sophistication. Ultimately, departments need to find ways to gather their undergraduates to talk about math that a broad undergraduate audience can actually follow. Just by talking to other students, I get the sense that some departments don’t even bother. For as long as I’ve been a student here, the Seattle University mathematics department has done a good job of getting people together. The undergraduate colloquium is a new effort to further advance this mission, and I anticipate great success for it.
Here’s a picture of Helliwell discussing the strange things that happen to triangles in non-euclidean metric spaces: