Contact: Abigail Fota, College Relations Associate - Media, 610-740-3790


(What is it that mathematicians do, actually?)

Allentown, PA (February 13, 2004) - Dr. Patrick Ratchford, assistant professor of mathematics at Cedar Crest College, will give a lecture entitled, "What is a proof? (What is it that mathematicians do, actually?)" on Thursday, February 19, 2004 at 7:15 p.m. in the Samuels Theatre of the Tompkins College Center. In the talk, Dr. Ratchford will explore the concept of a mathematical proof and by gently wading through an example of one, reveal how mathematics is an art as much as a science.

The lecture precedes the opening of "Proof," a new theatre production at Cedar Crest. "Proof" is a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning drama that tells the story of Catherine, an enigmatic young woman who has spent years caring for her brilliant theorist father. When a disputed mathematical proof is found among her father's notebooks, she searches for the truth and questions how much of his genius - or insanity - she has inherited.

"The image that many people have of a mathematician is of a rather eccentric person locked in a room doing long division problems. The play "Proof," however, has a rather different vision of the mathematicians it portrays," says Ratchford. "While no specific knowledge of mathematics is necessary to appreciate the play, a general knowledge of what mathematicians mean by the word "proof" will enhance the experience."

The lecture, "What is a proof?" will run from 7:15 to 7:45 p.m. and is free and open to the public. For more information on the lecture, or to reserve tickets for "Proof," please contact the Cedar Crest College Box Office at 610-606-4608.

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Abigail Fota
College Relations Associate - Media


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