Public Lecture 2018

Fernando Gouvêa (Colby College) will present "The Mysterious Numbers of Professor Hensel"

The public lecture will be taking place from 7:00pm to 8:00pm in the Reynolds Auditorium, Room 120.

Kurt Hensel didn't really set out to invent a new kind of number. He stumbled onto the p-adic numbers while trying to invent a new way to write down numbers of the usual kind. Nevertheless, the p-adic numbers that surprised him in the 1900s have turned out to be quite useful, so much so that this year's Spring Lecture Series is all about "p-adic Cohomology." I will ignore the "cohomology" part and instead tell the story of Kurt Hensel and his discovery. The only thing you need to know to follow along is arithmetic and a willingness to explore strange new (number) worlds.

2018 SLS Public Lecture poster