Teachers As Scholars (Steven J Miller: sjm1 AT williams.edu)

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Wednesday, March 20th and Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Quick links to sub-pages:    Cryptography        Math Riddles        My Homepage



The ability to encode information so that only certain recipients can read it (or, conversely, to read information you are not supposed to have!) contains some of the most exciting applications of pure and applied mathematics. Since at least the time of Julius Ceasar (the title to this course is encoded with the cipher he made famous), codes and ciphers have been used to protect important information. We'll discuss various cryptosystems used over the centuries, mixing history and theory. In the course of our studies we'll discuss results from number theory, group theory, graph theory and combinatorics. This seminar is most appropriate for middle school and high school math teachers, but anyone who enjoys numbers and problem solving is welcome.

DAY ONE: March 20, 2019:

DAY TWO: March 27, 2019:


Reading list: the following files are from an earlier version of a book I wrote, `The Mathematics of Encryption', with  Midge Cozzens, for a general audience. Feel free to download these files, but please do not distribute further. If you want to use variants of these in your schools, just let me know. Comments on choice of topics and exposition are especially welcome; email me at sjm1 AT williams.edu. I've also posted some links to related material for those who want to read more.


Math Riddles
I also maintain a math riddles page. Please feel free to share these riddles with your colleagues and your students, and let me know if there is anything I can do to make the site more useful for you and your classes. The goal is to add a student / teacher's corner sometime in the spring to facilitate using these in classrooms. If you're interested in helping, or want updates on the progress, let me know.


Notes from 2012: lecture notes taken by David Strasburger,   RSA implementation by Tom Chiari