Turfe Distinguished Lecture Series

The Turfe Lecture is a series of visits by distinguished mathematicians, made possible by a generous donation by Al Turfe, lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Upcoming 2016 Events

David Kung, Professor of Mathematics at St. Mary's College of Maryland, the director of the MAA’s Project NExT and a recipient of the 2006 Teaching Award from the MD/VA/DC section of the MAA, will present the 2016 Turfe Lecture:

Harmonious Equations: A Mathematical Exploration of Music

Mathematics and music seem to come from different spheres (arts and sciences), yet they share an amazing array of commonalities. We will explore these connections by examining the musical experience from a mathematical perspective.

The mathematical study of a single vibrating string unlocks a world of musical overtones and harmonics-and even explains why a clarinet plays so much lower than its similar-sized cousin the flute. Calculus, and the related field of differential equations, shows us how our ears hear differences between two instruments-what musicians call timbre-even when they play the same note at the same loudness. Finally, abstract algebra gives modern language to the structures beneath the surface of Bach's magnificent canons and fugues.

Throughout the talk, mathematical concepts will come to life with musical examples played by the speaker, an amateur violinist.


Thursday, April 14; 4:00-5:00 p.m.; Mary Kochoff Auditorium (1030 CB)

University of Michigan-Dearborn (click here for directions)

 Free and open to the public.


For further information about the lecture series, contact the Department of Mathematics and Statistics:  313-593-5414.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn does not necessarily endorse speakers’ views.