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10/27/2004 Math concepts, graphs and color focus of faculty lecture

McMINNVILLE ? A Linfield College math professor will use graphs and crayons to bring math concepts to life during an upcoming faculty lecture.

Chuck Dunn, assistant professor of mathematics, will speak on "Competitive Graph Coloring: How to be Stingy with the Crayons While Coloring Maps with Your Niece" on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Dunn will introduce the notion of a graph, including how graph coloring can be applied to questions in optimization. He?ll explain one concept using a hypothetical situation of coloring with a niece, where each alternates coloring the countries on a map so that two countries that share a border do not receive the same color.

"While four colors will always suffice to color a map, your niece is not necessarily interested in being efficient with the colors," Dunn explained. "She prefers to be as colorful as possible. A natural question to ask is how many colors must be available so that no matter what choices your niece makes, you will never be forced to introduce new colors?"

In addition to discussing this question, Dunn will also look at generalizations of the game on graphs. The talk is intended for a general audience, and Dunn will introduce concepts during the talk.

Dunn joined the Linfield faculty in 2002, and holds a bachelor?s degree from Lewis and Clark College, a master?s from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University. Presenting math in an engaging way is important, he said.

"The fun thing about my particular area of research (graph theory), is that it has so many fun and easy-to-understand applications," said Dunn.

The Linfield College faculty lecture series offers one presentation each month by a member of the Linfield faculty. For more information, call 503-883-2409.