Speaker: David Austin

Title: A Tale of Trees, Teeth, and Time

Abstract: Adding fractions feels like a cumbersome operation since we need to find a common denominator. What happens instead if we “add” fractions by simply adding their numerators and denominators? We’ll see that this leads to a beautiful construction called the Stern-Brocot tree that opens into a fertile mathematical landscape. Besides connections to important ideas in number theory, this tree has an intriguing application in the history of time-keeping.