Undergraduate Colloquium: Taxicab Geometry

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:

A triangle with three right angles

Leave a comment


  1. hey man. nice blog you’ve got here.

    here’s a nice paradox based on taxicab geometry: http://www.mm.informatik.tu-darmstadt.de/staff/kuehne/no-shortcuts.html

    (easily defeated by saying it only hits a countable number of points on the hypotenuse, or perhaps by talking about the manhattan radius?)

  2. Dylan

     /  13 January, 2008

    So, I’m looking for a reasonable picture to put on my new web page, and I come across this using google and I think “wait a secod, I know who took that picture . . .”

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