Math Colloquium: "The Mathematics of Spot It!"

November 26, 2013 | 4:00 PM |
Vanderwerf 104

Math Colloquium: "The Mathematics of Spot It!" by Dr. Michael Bolt, Calvin College

Spot it! is a game played with a deck of cards that have a curious property.  Every card in the deck has eight symbols and between any pair of cards there is exactly one matching symbol.  There are several ways to play, but always the successful player is the one who is quickest to spot the match.  For some of us who are slow to spot the match, we might wonder—how is it possible that there can exist a deck of cards with this property?  And how is one able to construct such a deck of cards?  The answers are connected with classical ideas from finite projective geometry that we explore in this talk.  This is based on research done by Calvin College students Rebekah Coggin and Anthony Meyer during the summer after their first year.