Talk Examines the Role of Math in Politics

Francis Su

Francis Su

Francis Edward Su, professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, lectures on “Voting in Agreeable Societies” Friday, Feb. 6, at 3:30 p.m. in Westmont’s Porter Hall Room 4. The mathematics colloquium is part of the Natural and Behavioral Sciences Seminar, which is free and open to the public.

Su explores the role mathematics plays in politics and how people behave. “I’ll give examples of situations where sets model preferences, and show how extensions of classical theorems on convex sets can be used in the analysis of voting in agreeable societies,” Su says. He defines a society as agreeable if it has at least three voters and among every three voters, there is some pair of voters who agree on some platform.

Su, who earned his doctorate from Harvard, researches geometric combinatorics and applications to the social sciences and has co-authored more than a dozen papers with undergraduates. He received the 2004 Henry L. Alder Award for distinguished teaching and was deemed the 2006 James R.C. Leitzel Lecturer. He also serves on editorial boards of the American Mathematical Monthly and Math Horizons. In his spare time he enjoys working on his Math Fun Facts Web site, which receives nearly 4,000 hits a day.