November 1, 2011: A Sampler of the Mathematics of Voting and Choice

Title:  A Sampler of the Mathematics of Voting and Choice

Date:  Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Location: Hyde 318

Time: 4:00-5:00PM (Pizza at 3:30PM in Hyde 349)

Speaker: Dr. Karl-Dieter Crisman (Gordon College)

Abstract:  We all know that there is some math when we hold elections – we have to add up the votes! But isn’t that it?  It turns out that there is mathematics at every turn when we choose things. We could be:

  • Deciding how to divide the rent in an apartment with unequal rooms.
  • Deciding which states get more representatives in Congress.
  • Choosing winners in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.

In all these situations (and many more), logical thinking and basic mathematics play a big role in:

  • Unmasking spoiler candidates.
  • Preventing (or encouraging!) gerrymandering to protect incumbents.
  • Negotiating the perfect price for that closet-sized bedroom your friend is willing to take.

This talk will be a sampler of these topics, touching on a wide range of connections between mathematics and choice at an elementary level.