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The Reid Lecture Series

The Reid Lecture Series is an annual public lecture geared toward showing a broad audience the beauty of mathematics. It is hosted each spring by the CSUSM Department of Mathematics. The event is open to the local and campus communities, including engaged high school and college students from other campuses and interested community members.

The Reid Lecture was established in 2015 and has continued with support from Founding Library Dean and Librarian Emerita Marion Reid and Founding Faculty Member and Professor Emeritus K. Brooks Reid.

SAVE THE DATE: APRIL 23, 2024, 6:00-7:00PM


In this talk we will discuss the role that social media plays in the public perception of mathematics and, in particular, whether one can use social media platforms, such as TikTok, to move the needle and create engaging mathematical content that has a math-positive spin to counter the prevalent math phobia in society. Specifically, we will discuss certain math questions that seem to generate tremendous amounts of engagement, and we will use these "hot topics" to talk about the very important math concepts behind them. For instance, some of these questions include: why do we teach Pythagoras' theorem in school? What is it good for and will we ever use it in real life? Why do we need proofs anyway? Why would a new proof of Pythagoras theorem (such as the wonderful proof recently discovered by two New Orleans teens) be exciting? Is Math discovered or invented? What is an axiom? How and why do we build mathematics out of axioms? What did Gödel prove in his "incompleteness theorem"? Should we give up since Math is "incomplete"? Does a straw have one or two holes? What is a Klein bottle and what is topology? Does the sum of all the positive integers 1+2+3+... really equal -1/12? What is the Riemann zeta function, what is the Riemann hypothesis, and why is there a $1M prize to whoever solves this esoteric math problem? ... among many other questions. As examples, the presentation will also include some of the speaker's TikToks that have been viewed millions of times.

ÁLVARO LOZANO-ROBLEDO is a professor of mathematics at the University of Connecticut. He received his PhD from Boston University in 2004. After temporary positions at Colby College and Cornell University, Dr. Lozano-Robledo has worked at UConn since 2008. His research interests are in the area of arithmetic geometry (the crossroads of number theory and algebraic geometry). He has published two books, "Elliptic Curves, Modular Forms, and their L-Functions", and "Number Theory and Geometry." His blog, A Field Guide to Mathematics, contains other short stories and also other pieces of interest to mathematicians. In his spare time, he makes TikToks (@mathandcobb) with mathematical content and some comedy bits.


Reid Lecture Series Archives

  • 2015: The inaugural Reid Lecture given by Professor Ron Graham, UC San Diego Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.
  • 2016: Professor Francis Su, Harvey Mudd College, Department of Mathematics.
  • 2017:  Professor Alice Silverberg, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, UC Irvine.
  • 2018:  Professor William Dunham, Mathematical Historian, Distinguished Author, and Research Associate in Mathematics at Bryn Mawr.
  • Spring 2019:  Professor Talithia Williams, Department of Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College.
  • Fall 2019:  Professor Ron Gould, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Heilbrun Distinguished Fellow, Emory University.
  • 2021: Professor Peter Winkler, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Dartmouth College
  • 2022: Professor Robin Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Open University, Emeritus Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, and a former Fellow of Keble College, Oxford University. 
  • 2023: Professor Ami Radunskaya, Linghurn H. Burkhead Professor of Mathematics, Pomona College.