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Harry Potter and Higher Dimensions

  • Thursday, November 15, 2018
  • 3:40 PM–4:30 PM
  • North Hall 276

Sarah Klanderman, Michigan State University and David Klanderman, Calvin College

As one of the most beloved series in children’s literature today, the Harry Potter books excite students of all ages with the adventures of living in a magical world.  Magical objects (e.g., bottomless handbags, the Knight Bus, time turners, and moving portraits) can inspire generalizations to mathematical concepts that would be relevant in a high school geometry course or undergraduate courses in geometry or topology.  Intuitive explanations for some of the magical objects connect to abstract mathematical ideas.  We offer a typology with a total of five categories, including Three Dimensions in Two Dimensions, Higher Dimensions in Three Dimensions, Two and Three Dimensional Movement, Higher Dimensional Movement, and Higher Dimensional Traces.  These categories attempt to explain supernatural events from the wizarding world using mathematical reasoning in order to increase engagement.  Our pedagogical goal is to pique student interest by linking these abstract concepts to familiar examples from the world of Harry Potter.  Put on your Ravenclaw robe or Gryffindor scarf and join us!

Refreshments precede the talk at 3:30 p.m. in NH 282.

November 2018
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