How Always to Win at Limbo

Waterloo, ON
Dec 08, 2017 05:00 PM (EST) 

Event Details

CMS Public Lecture by Edward B. Burger

Friday, December 8th, 5:00 - 6:00 pm

Delta Hotel Waterloo, Ballroom

How Always to Win at Limbo

or "You can sum some of the series some of the time, and some of the series none of the time...but can you sum some of the series all of the time?"

Remember in those early days of first-love how you would dream about that special someone and wonder to yourself:  "How close are we?"  This presentation will address this question by answering:  What does it mean for two things to be close to one another?  We'll take a strange look infinite series, dare to mention a calculus student's fantasy, and momentarily engage in transcendental meditation.  In fact, we'll even attempt to build some very exotic series that can be used if you ever have to flee the country in a hurry:  we'll either succeed or fail... you'll have to attend to find out.  Will you be at the edge of your seat?  Perhaps; but if not, then you'll probably fall asleep and either way, after the talk, you'll feel refreshed. No matter what, you'll learn a sneaky way always to win at Limbo.
This presentation is open to all math fans—young and old alike.  A familiarity with infinite series is helpful.  If you've ever head of the phrase "triangle inequality", then this lecture for you.

Edward Burger is President of Southwestern University as well as a professor of mathematics. He has delivered over 700 addresses worldwide at venues including The Smithsonian Institution, Microsoft Corporation, The World Bank, and the National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of over 70 research articles, books, and video series (starring in over 4,000 on-line videos used by approximately 45% of primary and secondary math students across the United States). His most recent book, "The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking", has been translated into over 20 languages.

In 2006, Reader’s Digest listed Burger in their annual “100 Best of America” as America’s Best Math Teacher. In 2010 he was named the winner of the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching—the most prestigious prize in higher education teaching.  Also in 2010, he starred in a mathematics segment for NBC-TV on the Today Show and throughout the 2010 Winter Olympic coverage. That television appearance won him a 2010 Telly Award.

The Huffington Post named him one of their 2010 Game Changers: “HuffPost’s Game Changers salutes 100 innovators, visionaries, mavericks, and leaders who are reshaping their fields and changing the world.” In 2012, Microsoft Worldwide Education selected him as one of their “Global Heroes in Education,” and the following year he was inducted as an inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. Today he has a weekly, lively program on higher education and thinking produced by NPR's Austin affiliate KUT. The series is aptly called Higher ED, and the episodes are available on iTunes.


Edward Burger
Southwestern University
President and Professor


110 Erb Street West Waterloo, ON N2L 1T5 CA


How Always to Win at Limbo

Organizer Details

Faculty of Mathematics

Kristine McGlynn, Alumni Program Assistant,