Colloquium April 21: Stephen Robinson, Wake Forest University, as part of Student Research Day

Please join us on Friday for the Math Sciences Student Research Day! At 1 pm in 103A come to hear Dr. Stephen Robinson speak on The Game of Hex and Its Surprising Implications. After the colloquium will be a social hour in the third floor Lobby in Walker Hall, followed at 4 PM by two hours of student research presentations in 103A Walker. Abstract: Hex is a simple two-player game that is well known to both mathematicians and non-mathematicians. Two players, Blue and Red, take turns placing tiles on a board until one of them has created a path connecting their sides. East and West for Blue, and North and South for Red.
Unlike some other familiar games, such as tic-tac-toe, Hex is guaranteed to have a winner. This is known as The Hex Theorem. It turns out that this simple game, and its associated theorem, captures some deep and beautiful mathematical ideas that have been fundamental to mathematical progress over the last century. In particular, as David Gale demonstrated in a 1980 article in the Mathematical Monthly, The Hex Theorem is equivalent to the Brouwer Fixed Point Theorem in the plane. The main goal of this talk is to discuss the connection between these two theorems. The proofs are accessible to anybody who can play the game, draw some pictures, and contemplate continuity. Given time I will mention further implications that are near and dear to my heart.  Stephen Robinson received his Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, after which he joined the faculty in the Wake Forest University Department of Mathematics, where he is currently the Taylor Professor of Mathematics.  He works in the areas of nonlinear analysis applied to partial differential equations, and has worked with numerous undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers over the years. In 2016, he was presented with the MAA Southeastern Section Distinguished Teaching Award for these activities and others.

Published: Apr 17, 2023 8:49pm