Billiard Balls and Laser Beams: Talk, Slides, and Videos

I had the opportunity to speak at the University of Washington Monthly Math Hour on April 17. Following my talk a six and a half year old named Rebekah gave me this drawing she drew during the talk.

The talk, Billiard Balls and Laser Beams, was inspired by the mathematics of reflections (things that bounce off other things), a topic that has been a fascination to me since I was a child.

At the heart of the talk is a fascinating puzzle: can you build a room made entirely of mirrors that cannot be illuminated with a single light bulb?

The talk is available for viewing in its entirety here.

If you’d like the slides, there’s a video of them here.

I also used Wolfram Demonstrations extensively to help me with the graphics for the talk. If you haven’t played with this yet, I highly recommend downloading their free player and checking out what you can do with their visuals.

http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/FollowingChaoticReflections/
http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/ReflectionInACircle/
http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/ReflectionsInAnEllipticalRegion/
http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/ReflectivePropertiesOfConicSections/
http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/ReflectionsInAMirroredCorner/
http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/ReflectionFromAPolynomialMirror/

I also showed clips of some juggling/dance pieces that use reflections in brilliant ways. Those clips are available below.




 

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