Undergraduate Math Conference
Saturday, April 11, 2015
2015 Invited Speaker  Professor Jason Rosenhouse
of James Madison University
Biography: Jason Rosenhouse is a professor of mathematics at James Madison University in Virginia. He received his PhD from Dartmouth College in 2000, and has previously taught at Kansas State University. He is the author of "The Monty Hall Problem: The Remarkable Story of Math's Most Contentious Brainteaser," and "Among the Creationists: Dispatches From the AntiEvolutionist Frontline." With Laura Taalman, he is the coauthor of "Taking Sudoku Seriously: The Math Behind the World's Most Popular Pencil Puzzle." All three books were published by Oxford University Press. He is also the editor of "Four Lives: A Celebration of Raymond Smullyan," published by Dover. Most recently he is the coeditor, with Jennifer Beineke, of "The Princeton Guide to Research in Recreational Mathematics," forthcoming from Princeton University Press. When not doing math he enjoys chess, cooking, and reading lockedroom mysteries.
Abstract: The Monty Hall Problem is arguably the most famous and counterintuitive brainteaser in the history of mathematics. We are asked to imagine that while on a game show, we are presented with three doors. Behind one is a car, while the other two conceal goats. You select door number one, but before opening it Monty Hall, the host of the show, opens door two and shows you that there is a goat behind it. He now gives you the options either of sticking with door one, or switching to door three. The problem is to determine which choice gives you the better chance of winning the car. The interest in the problem stems from the fact that the answer that is obvious to most people, that with only two doors remaining there is only a 5050 chance that either remaining door is correct, is entirely mistaken. By considering the classic Monty Hall Problem and a sequence of increasingly difficult variations on it, we shall come to understand how to think clearly about this and other pr obabilistic teasers. The talk will assume almost nothing in the way of mathematical background, and will mostly be accessible to all.

Funding for the Undergraduate Math Conference is provided by NSF grant DMS0846477 through the MAA Regional Undergraduate Mathematics Conferences program, www.maa.org/RUMC and the
University of Tennessee Mathematics Department.