It’s time for Nerd Nite October! Join us at the Middlesex for two delightfully informative talks. Anna Rothman brings us New England’s own tales of crypts. Alex Bloemendal is probably going to talk about probability. (The odds are in our favor.)
Talk 1: “Heads or Tails? Adventures in Coin Tossing” by Alex Bloemendal
The humble coin toss is the archetypal random phenomenon. Repeated tossing leads to all kinds of questions: How long can a run of heads go on? Is my coin fair or biased? Can you get a fair toss out of a biased coin? a specifically biased toss out of a fair coin? Find out answers to these questions and more! Expect to encounter randomness, certainty, Andrey Kolmogorov, John von Neumann, binary representation, the law of large numbers and — time permitting — the devil’s staircase.
More Info on Alex: Alex hails from Toronto where he recently did a PhD in mathematics, a slightly masochistic activity that entails banging your head against a blackboard several hours a day for several years. He is currently doing research on random matrices and teaching at Harvard.
Talk 2: “Here Lyes ye Body: a Field Guide to 18th- and 19th-Century Gravestones” by Anna Rothman
For Early Americans, a trip to the graveside of friends or family was a regular occurrence, but the modern American holds his breath as he passes by. How did we go from picnicking in graveyards to avoiding them at all costs? Decipher the historic clues hidden in every gravestone, with symbols, epitaphs, stone placement, and more. Pick up a few tricks and tips for your own graving expeditions!
More Info on Anna: Since full-time cemetery historian gigs are hard to come by, Anna has a day job as a pharmaceutical librarian. She once smelt a ghost.
Be there and be square!