Session leader: Pedro Morales
Session topic: Can you play the 2020 rocks game?
We will tackle a simple game that consists on removing rocks from a pile until no rocks are left. Despite the simple rules, nice mathematical patterns emerge. We will explore these patterns and see if there are any relevant strategies.
I am originally from Guatemala, a country in Central America, where I obtained a degree in applied mathematics and a degree in electronics engineering from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. I moved to Texas and I got my PhD from Baylor University in mathematical physics, specifically working with zeta functions. After this, I worked for five years at the University of Texas at Austin. I currently work in the math department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
I am deeply interested in many areas of mathematics, but specifically in spectral zeta functions and their applications into number theory, quantum field theories, and related areas. I am also interested in mathematics education, active learning, experiential learning, quantitative reasoning, math improv, and outreach. My interest in math started while in high school I became part of the Guatemalan math national team. I discovered that math was more than calculations and numbers. It was rather a way to describe and create. I like to solve problems, to find patterns and to describe phenomena using math. I also like technology, programming, music, innovation, and any other way to express creativity.