Mathematics Awareness Month Public Lecture Series

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Mathematics Awareness Month is held each year in April. Its goal is to increase public understanding of and appreciation for mathematics. To that end Cornell's Department of Mathematics sponsors an annual public lecture. To learn more about Mathematics Awareness Month and its history, visit

Recent Lectures

The April 2019 lecture took place on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 4:30pm in 253 Malott Hall.

Speaker: David Swart,  Mathematical Artist
Title: The Delightful Geometries of Soccer Balls

Abstract: You are probably familiar with traditional soccer balls, with their black pentagons and white hexagons.  What you may not have noticed is the creative “arms race” that soccer balls have been through in recent years with new graphics and seam patterns appearing all the time.  Modern soccer ball designs are in that wonderful intersection between mathematics and art:  they allow mathematicians to gain an appreciation for design, and they allow sports fans to learn something about geometry.  Even if you’re familiar with the latest soccer ball designs, or with spherical geometry, or both, there will likely be something new and interesting to learn from this talk.  (You might even learn how to finally draw a decent soccer ball!)

A poster for this talk is available following this link. The speaker's slide presentation is available. Notes: *Some of the images are not David's (those are tagged with image credit.) *Anyone may use any of David's figures, just please give him image credit (image rights are not granted for commercial purposes.)

Previous Lectures in the Series

  • Bobby Kleinberg, Cornell University
    Card Games, Inevitable Patterns, and Computation (2018)
    A full video recording of Prof. Bobby Kleinberg's talk is available via video on demand.
  • Alberto A. Martínez, University of Texas at Austin
    Pythagoras and Other Fictions: Do we need them in math? (2017)
  • Lionel Levine, Cornell University
    The Future of Prediction (2016) 
  • David S. Ross, Rochester Institute of Technology
    Careers in Math: What They Are, What They Should Be (2015)
  • John Maceli, Ithaca College:
    What is Mathematical Magic? (2014)
  • David Shmoys, Cornell University:
    Computational Sustainability: An algorithmic lens for better decision-making (2013)
  • Paul Velleman, Cornell University:
    Surfng the Data Deluge (2012)
  • John Hubbard, Cornell University:
    The Price of Anarchy (2011)
  • Allen Knutson, Cornell University:
    The Mathematics of Juggling (2010)
  • Christopher Danforth, University of Vermont, Thomas Pfaff, Ithaca College, Zellman Warhaft, Cornell University, and Mary Lou Zeeman, Cornell University and Bowdoin College:
    Mathematics and Climate (2009)
  • Michael A. Jones, Montclair State University:
    What a Difference a Procedure Makes: Scoring Rules in Politics and Sports (2008)
  • David Field, Cornell University:
    Unraveling the Knot of our Sensory Experience (2007)
  • Graeme Bailey, Cornell University:
    Keeping and Sharing Secrets (2006)
  • John Hubbard, Cornell University:
    Order and Chaos in the Solar System (2005)
  • Steven Strogatz, Cornell University:
    Sync (2004)
  • Warwick Tucker, Cornell University:
    Using a Computer to do Rigorous Mathematics (2002)
  • Robert Connelly, Cornell University:
    How to Unfold a Carpenter's Rule in the Plane (2001)
  • John Hubbard, Cornell University:
    Chaos, Complication and Control (2000)