Albion College
Mathematics and Computer Science
Are you smarter than a 19th century mathematician?
Timothy A. Sipka

Associate Professor

Mathematics and Computer Science

Alma College

The Four Color Theorem is a simple and believable statement: at most four colors are needed to color any map drawn in the plane or on a sphere so that no two regions sharing a boundary receive the same color. It might be surprising to find out that mathematicians searched for a proof of this statement for over a century until finally finding one in 1976. In this talk, we'll consider the "proof" given by Alfred Kempe, a proof published in 1879 and thought to be correct until an error was found in 1890. You're invited to look carefully at Kempe's proof and see if you can do what many 19th century mathematicians could not do—find the flaw.
All are welcome!
Palenske 227
October 21, 2010