Game on at UWM’s February Science Bag

Bill Mandella

UWM mathematician Bill Mandella

MILWAUKEE—Can math problems be recreational? They can be when they are really “puzzlers.” Get your game on at this month’s Science Bag interactive lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

In “Math Puzzlers and Brain Ticklers,” UWM mathematician Bill Mandella will lead an investigation into seven counterintuitive math problems. But don’t worry: No special knowledge is required by the audience. (The quadratic formula will not be used even once!)

The presentation is held every Friday in February at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m.

“A great brain tickler is a problem that is relatively easy to state clearly, but not so easy to solve. However, the solution should be somewhat ‘elegant,’” he says. “By that I mean that the solution, once revealed, seems almost obvious.”

These puzzles, made famous by those on the show “Car Talk” on National Public Radio, require the use of various strategies or skills, including the use of logic and deductive reasoning, numbering, pattern recognition and connections between seemingly unrelated ideas.

The audience will be encouraged to play with the help of a handout. Along the way, volunteers will be called on and Mandella will coax audience creativity with visual aids.

The Science Bag presentations are held in room 137 of the Physics Building, on the corner of Kenwood Boulevard and Cramer Street. The Science Bag is for the curious ages 8 and older, and is free.