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Dr. Laura Taalman Speaks at Math Assembly

Dr. Laura Taalman, Mathematician-in-Residence at the Museum of Math, visited Friends to discuss knot theory, 3D-printing, and Menger sponges.
Dr. Laura Taalman, Mathematician-in-Residence at the Museum of Math, visited Friends to discuss knot theory, 3D-printing, and Menger sponges. Students watched her demonstrate how two knots can look vastly different from each other, even though from a mathematical standpoint, they are the same. Aided by 3D-printed objects of her own creation, Dr. Taalman explained how 3D-printing works and some of the unique difficulties the process can pose for mathematicians.

Dr. Taalman is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at James Madison University, where she joined the faculty after graduate work at Duke University and undergraduate work at the University of Chicago. This year she is serving as the Mathematician-in-Residence at MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics. Dr. Taalman's mathematical research interests include singular algebraic geometry, knot theory, and the mathematics of games and puzzles. She is the founder of the JMU MakerLab mathematical 3D-printing lab and the JMU 3-SPACE general education 3D-printing classroom, and is known as mathgrrl on Thingiverse, where she has published over 150 3D models. She is also a co-author of the recent Taalman/Kohn Calculus textbook and seven books on Sudoku and mathematics. In 2013 she was a recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and has received the Alder Award and the Trevor Evans Award from the Mathematical Association of America.
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