Brandeis University Everyperson Seminar

Monday November 22, 2004, 4 PM, Goldsmith 317

tea at 3:30 PM at the Math Department lounge (Goldsmith 300)

Speaker: Arthur Benjamin (Harvey Mudd)

Title: Counting on Determinants

Abstract: We demonstrate how determinants solve many interesting combinatorial problems. Determinants count nonintersecting lattice paths, spanning trees, and permutations with specified descent points. Elegant proofs of these results are based on the definition of the determinant and occasionally the principle of inclusion-exclusion. Applications to Pascal's Triangle, Fibonacci numbers and Catalan numbers will also be given.

This talk is based on joint work with Naiomi Cameron of Occidental College.