• Thursday, February 28, 2019
  • 3:40 PM–4:30 PM
  • North Hall 276

Matt DeLong, Marian University

The problem of minimizing the perimeter of a rectangle of a given area is familiar to all introductory calculus students.  Its solution was not at all natural, however, to Farmer Ted, a fictitious character introduced by Martin in a 1999 Mathematics Magazine article, who required integer solutions to his farming needs.  To help Farmer Ted build his coop, Martin’s article defined and characterized what he called almost-squares.  Two undergraduate students of mine wrote follow-up papers in the Magazine, in which they helped Farmer Ted by generalizing Martin’s work to three dimensions and to weighted sides, respectively.  In this talk I will share the mathematics of, as well as the story behind, these cute problems, as well as some lessons about mathematics, research, and publishing that learned from the process.

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