Riddles in Wonderland

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What’s it all about?

Did you know that Lewis Carroll, aka Charles L. Dodgson, was a mathematician? Now do you see why Alice’s adventures are so strange? Inspired by his book of Pillow-Problems, we’ll explore puzzles of maths and logic that avoid numbers and fiendish equations but still bend your brain.

What will we cover?

Ooh, some real intellectual stuff, like colouring-in and playing with string. Specifically, how many pencils do you need to colour in a map? How many ways are there to tie a knot, or to tile a floor? And what does any of this have to do with The Matrix and RMIT’s Storey Hall?

And we’ll tackle some classic conundra, like the Möbius strip, the Königsberg Bridge and this one:

Suppose you’re on a game show, and you’re given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what’s behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, “Do you want to pick door No. 2?” Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

What would you do? Switch doors or stick with your original choice?

Who will be teaching?

chris lassigChris Lassig is a former theoretical particle physicist and quantum field theorist who once wrote a paper called ‘Phenomenology of the two Higgs doublet sector of a quark-lepton symmetric model’ and has studied closed timelike curves in the vicinity of cosmic strings. Since then he’s learnt to speak English and understands that this stuff is actually awesome. He now shares the awe as a science communicator and presenter on the program Lost in Science, on 3CR community radio.