Good Will Hunting, Chico Style

Calculus 1 students examine the topology problem posted by Eldon Vought, Mathematics, in honor of the upcoming 6th Chico Topology Conference to be held May 28-30. The first one who solves the brain twister will receive $100, movie tickets, and an invitation to meet the presenters at the conference.

The conference on topology, a type of geometry, sponsored by CSU, Chico and organized by Eldon Vought, Mathematics, will feature addresses from mathematicians from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Texas Technological University, Auburn University, Tulane University, and CSU, Sacramento. Approximately thirty attendees will come from as far away as Poland, Mexico, Canada, and across the United States.

Topology is the study of objects that are not changed by bending, stretching, or twisting, but are changed by cutting, pasting, or punching holes. Vought provided this example: By bending and stretching a rubber band, it can be made into the shape of a circle, a square, or a triangle, all of which are considered to have the same topological shape. But if the rubber band is cut, it now has two ends, an entirely different topological object. And if it is cut twice, it is not even connected, but is now in two pieces, a still different topological shape.

Vought, who is retiring this spring, commented that holding an international conference of this prestige is a great honor for CSU, Chico. (photo KM)

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