In spectroscopy, one attempts to recover the shape or chemical composition of an object from the characteristic frequencies of sound or light emitted. Mark Kac’s question, “Can one hear the shape of a drum?” asks whether two membranes (drumheads) which vibrate at the same characteristic frequencies must have the same shape. We answer Kac’s question negatively by constructing pairs of exotic-shaped sound-alike drums. We also listen to a computer simulation, produced by Dennis DeTurck, of the sounds of these drums.
Math for Everyone is a series of math-related talks and discussions, especially for undergraduates. Events conclude with snacks and refreshments. Everyone, from Fields medalists to math phobes, is welcome to attend.