Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Location: Rockefeller Hall 310
Title: How to always win at beanbag toss (if you are a robot) - or Why applied math can change your life
Abstract: Suppose you have to toss a coin into a wishing well or throw a horseshoe onto a peg. All of these tasks require you to swing your arm to accelerate the ball to the right speed, and then let go at just the right moment. You can do this, but how do you it? How do you know what the right speed or the right time are? In this talk, we'll demonstrate a little robot which throws a ball bearing into a coffee cup from about three feet away, and talk about the math behind it. Students in the calculus class at the University of Georgia learn to program this robot to land the ball bearing in the cup. This activity forms the backbone for a first-semester applied calculus course. We'll talk about the math involved in landing the ball on target (don't worry-- you don't need to know calculus already!), what you learn from adding math to the situation, and how math can help you improve your accuracy.