Towards A Simpler Problem

  • Presentation
Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 2:15pm to 3:15pm

"I once taught in a summer program for middle school students.  One day the director asked me to tell them a little about my experience doing a PhD.  It made a big impression on them to learn that as a PhD student I had worked on a math problem for three years.  How could somebody work on one problem for three years?  What would you do?  A lot of that time is spent being stuck, and an important way to get unstuck is to come up with simpler problems -- problems that feel more tractable but help us understand the bigger problem we started with.  In this talk, we will explore this process of looking for simpler problems.  I will bring with me a hard math problem, and we will talk about finding approachable things we can do to understand it better."

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