Professor’s last lecture is all games

Michael Frantz, professor of mathematics, explains games that were invented by mathematicians such as John Conway on Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. During his talk, “Games Mathematicians Play,” Frantz demonstrated several games, including the Seven Bridges of Konigsberg, the Game of Brussels Sprouts and a line probability game in which he used hot dogs. / photo by Claudia Ceja
Michael Frantz, professor of mathematics, explains games that were invented by mathematicians such as John Conway on Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room. During his talk, “Games Mathematicians Play,” Frantz demonstrated several games, including the Seven Bridges of Konigsberg, the Game of Brussels Sprouts and a line probability game in which he used hot dogs. / photo by Claudia Ceja

Amanda Gabriela Beltran
Staff Writer

Professor of Mathematics Michael Frantz held his last lecture, “Games Mathematicians Play,” on Tuesday before more than 45 students an faculty members in the President’s Dining Room.

Frantz explored how mathematicians can solve simple yet challenging games by using formulas and other mathematical theories.

Frantz started by showing images of what people think of when they think of math.

He showed images of whiteboards filled with complicated formulas. Frantz said when mathematicians think of math themselves, they think of extremely abstract shapes and pictures.

“Mathematics is all about abstraction, there are a lot of interesting properties here,” Frantz said. “So there is a bit of a difference between how mathematicians perceive what they do than the rest of the world.”

The first game was the Seven Bridges of Konigsberg, which Frantz had the audience play as well.

“The idea is can you walk across each of these seven bridges, crossing each of them once and only once, you don’t have to end up where you started from, but you do have to cross all the bridges,” Frantz said.

He said a mathematician would view the same problem by replacing the bridges with dots and lines.

“We would redraw it, this is a form of a graph in mathematics which has vertices and edges,” Frantz said.

Junior mathematics major Alexa Jones has Frantz as her professor for two classes this semester.

“I came out to support because Dr. Frantz has taught about five of my classes since I’ve been at La Verne,” Jones said.

Jones said her favorite game was the one where he threw hot dogs onto a plastic paper on the floor with square linings.

“The last time I saw him do that it was with toothpicks so the hot dogs were a surprise,” Jones said.

On each of the tables during the lecture were interactive metal triangles that he challenged the audience members to connect.

“I had a lot of fun playing with the magnet pieces trying to connect the line segments,” Jones said.

Professor of Psychology Glenn Gamst has known Frantz for 27 years.

“He is one of those individuals I have a great deal of respect for, Michael Frantz is one of those guys that you can depend on,” Gamst said.

Amanda Gabriela Beltran can be reached at amanda.beltran@laverne.edu.

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