Knot Theory

By Jillian Byrnes, Monique Dacanay, Kaycee DeArmey,  Alana Drumgold, Ariyana Smith*, and Wisdom Talley*.

*Ariyana and Wisdom helped the group work through the problem set but were unfortunately unable to attend camp during the blog writing.

A mathematical knot is a loop in three-dimensional space that doesn’t intersect itself, and knot theory is the topological study of these knots. Two knots are considered to be equivalent if they can be stretched or bent into each other without cutting or passing  through themselves. The simplest of these knots is known as the unknot, which is just a circle or its equivalence. Similar to a knot is a link, which is multiple knots intersecting each other. Both knots and links are often described in the form of knot diagrams, which are two-dimensional representations of the three-dimensional shape. There are an infinite number of both knots and links, but here are a few examples in diagram form:

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Classification of Surfaces

By Ayanna Blake, Lisa Oommen*, Myla Marve, Tamarr Moore, Caylah Vickers, and Lily Zeng.

*Lisa helped the group work through the problem set but was unfortunately unable to attend camp during the blog writing.

The Girls Talk Math camp is about female high school students from different places who discuss mathematics, mathematicians, and theories. We were split up into groups and were assigned different math topics to learn. Our topic was classification of surfaces, which is listed under the umbrella topic of abstract geometry.

We thought the surfaces project was very interesting and cool to learn about, because it introduced us to college level math and allowed us to understand different parts of geometry. Along with gaining knowledge of surfaces, we also got to learn about other groups topics. Campers presented their topics on the last day and helped us to perceive the significance of the different subjects.

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Elliptic Curve Cryptography

By Mukta Dharmapurikar, Anagha Jandhyala, Savanna Jones, and Ciara Renaud.

Have you ever wondered how your credit card number stays secure after shopping online? Every day millions of people’s personal information is entered online or stored in databases, where it seems like anyone could access it. However, a process called cryptography keeps theft from occurring.

Cryptography is the ancient art of keeping secret messages secure. Elliptic curve cryptography is one type of encryption that we spent the last two weeks learning about. It has some advantages over the more common cryptography method, known as RSA.

RSA relies on the difficulty of factoring very large prime numbers. Despite the current security, it’s feasible that one day a method could be invented that makes factoring large prime numbers realistic. In this blog post, we will be explaining the essential math behind how elliptic curves work and how they are used to encrypt messages.

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RSA Encryption Cryptography

By Camille Clark, Layke Jones, Isabella Lane, Aza McFadden*, and Lizbeth Otero.

*Aza helped the group work through the problem set but was unfortunately unable to attend camp during the blog writing.

Cryptography is a field of coding and decoding information. It relies on the framework of number theory. Therefore, it can be used to connect theories as well as teaching others the fundamental properties of integers. Relevant number theory topics are modular arithmetic, prime factorization, greatest common divisor, and theorems such as the Chinese Remainder Theorem and Euler’s Theorem. This blog post will focus on the first three topics.

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Number Systems

By Miranda Copenhaver, Nancy Hindman*, Efiotu Jagun, and Gloria Su.

*Nancy helped the group work through the problem set but was unfortunately unable to attend camp during the blog writing.

Number systems are how we represent numbers like 1, 32, and 75. We use the base ten (decimal) system for our numbers most of the time. It’s called base ten because it uses ten digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. But what if I told you that 1001101 and 4D both mean seventy-seven? Crazy, right? There are countless number systems, but today we will be focusing on two: hexadecimal (base sixteen) and binary (base two)!

As we’ve said before, the binary system is base two; it only uses 0 and 1. Since only 1 or 0 can be used, the placement of each digit is important. Computers use binary to store and transfer information. It is used in communication (Morse code, braille) and everything electronic like computers, lights, calculators, MP3s, MIDI, JPEG, etc. 

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