Arnold Ross Lectures

The purpose of this series of lectures for talented high school mathematics students is to stimulate their interest in mathematics beyond the traditional classroom and to show them the tremendous opportunities for careers in mathematics--as mathematics teachers and as researchers in government, industry, and university programs. The lectures are intended to illustrate some recent development in mathematical research. Read the background behind the Arnold Ross Lectures.

2018 Arnold Ross Lecture

Professor Tadashi Tokieda, Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University will give the 2018 Arnold Ross Lecture at the Saint Louis Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri on Wednesday, October 24, 2018.

Tadashi Tokieda Photo courtesy Davey Hubay

A World from a Sheet of Paper

Starting with just a sheet of paper, folding, stacking, crumpling, sometimes tearing, we will explore a diversity of phemomenon, from a magic trick to geometry and elasticity and the traditional Japanese art of origami.

Much of the show consists of table-top demos, which you can try later with friends and family.

So, take a sheet of paper . . .

About the speaker:

Tadashi Tokieda grew up as a painter in Japan, became a classical philologist (not to be confused with philosopher) in France, before switching to mathematics (PhD Princeton). As of fall 2017 he is a professor of mathematics at Stanford; previously he had been a director of studies in mathematics at Cambridge for 13 years. Most of his research is in applied mathematics and macroscopic physics. He is active in outreach in the developing world, especially via the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences near Cape Town. So far he has lived in 8 countries (or 7 or 6, depending on the way we count).

More from Tadashi Tokieda

In a simple demonstration, Radcliffe Institute fellow and mathematician Tadashi Tokieda uses paper, tape, and scissors to get some surprising results. Try it yourself and share with your loved ones on Valentine's Day.

Past Arnold Ross Lectures

Professor Ken Ono

2017 Arnold Ross Lecture

Professor Ken Ono, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics, Emory University was the 2017 Arnold Ross Lecturer at the Orlando Science Center in Florida. Learn more about his talk 'Why does Ramanujan, "The Man Who Knew Infinity"', matter?.

Nancy Kopell

Photo © 2000 Boston University. All rights reserved

2016 Arnold Ross Lecture

Professor Nancy Kopell, Professor of Mathematics at Boston University gave the 2016 Arnold Ross Lecture at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth, Texas. She spoke about Brain Rhythms in Health and Disease. Read more about her talk and the other events.

Henry Cohn

Photo courtesy of Bryce Vickmark

2014 Arnold Ross Lecture

Henry Cohn, principal researcher and one of the founding members of Microsoft Research New England, gave the 2014 Arnold Ross Lecture at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City. He asked the question What’s the densest sphere packing in a million dimensions?. More about his Lecture and the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician game is available online.

Bryna Kra

2013 Fall Lecture

Bryna Kra of Northwestern University gave the Fall 2013 Arnold Ross Lecture, Patterns and Disorder: How Random Can Random Be? The lecture was held at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. Read more about her lecture and the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician game here.

Erik Demaine

2013 Spring Lecture

Erik D. Demaine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gave the Spring Arnold Ross Lecture, Algorithms Meet Art, Puzzles, and Magic. . The lecture was held at the new Museum of Mathematics in New York City. Read more about his lecture and the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician game here.

Joan P. Hutchinson

Photo courtesy of Macalester College

2011 Spring Lecture

Joan P. Hutchinson, Professor Emerita, Macalester College, gave the Arnold Ross Lecture, From crayons to color graphics: How mathematicians use color. The 2011 Lecture was held at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

Thomas C. Hales

Photo Copyright ©, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2010, all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

2010 Lecture

Thomas C. Hales, Mellon Professor of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, gave the 2010 Arnold Ross Lecture, Can Computers Do Math? The Lecture was held at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, October 14, 2010. Learn more here.

Dana Randall

2009 Lecture

Dana Randall of the Georgia Institute of Technology, gave the Arnold Ross Lecture, Domino Tilings of the Chessboard: An Introduction to Sampling and Counting at the National Science Center/Fort Discovery in Augusta, Georgia, on Thursday, October 29, 2009. Read more of the days events at Fort Discovery.

David C. Kelly with Hartman Halo

2008 Lecture

David C. Kelly, Hampshire College, gave the 2008 Arnold Ross Lecture, From Pascal's Triangle to Sierpinski's Triangle in Base 2 at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry on Thursday, October 23. Read more here.

Barry Mazur

Photo courtesy

2007 Lecture

Barry Mazur, Harvard University, gave the 2007 Arnold Ross Lecture on How many prime numbers are there? at the Museum of Science in Boston, MA on Thursday, November 1. Read more here.

Manjul Bhargava

2006 Lecture

Manjul Bhargava, Princeton University, gave the 2006 Arnold Ross Lecture on The Mathematics of Rhythm at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago on Tuesday, October 24. Read more here.

Kenneth Ribet

2005 Lecture

Kenneth A. Ribet, University of California, Berkeley, gave the 2005 Arnold Ross Lecture on Fermat's Last Theorem and Beyond at the New York Hall of Science on Thursday, November 3. Read more here.

Elwyn Berlekamp

2004 Lecture

Elwyn Berlekamp, University of California at Berkeley, gave the 2004 Arnold Ross Lecture on The Dots and Boxes Game: Sophisticated Child's Play at the St. Louis Science Center on April 21. Following the lecture AMS Public Awareness Officer Mike Breen emceed the "Who Wants To Be A Mathematician" game, during which five talented high school students won a total of $7,000 from the AMS. As a grand finale to the day's events, Berlekamp played many of the high school students in the audience in a simultaneous game of Dots and Boxes. Read more here.

Paul Sally

2003 Lecture

Paul J. Sally Jr., University of Chicago, gave the 2003 Arnold Ross Lecture on Problems in Mathematics from Zero to Infinity to an enthusiastic crowd of approxomately 250 high school students and teachers. This lecture was further enhanced by a game show that was held after refreshments.

The successful mathematics game show, Who Wants to be a Mathematician, was run in conjunction with the lecture by the AMS Public Awareness Office. The exuberant student audience contributed to the atmosphere of excitement and enjoyment as they cheered on the contestants.

Comments from students who attended a recent Arnold Ross Lecture:

We are three students who attended the recent Arnold Ross Lecture at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and wanted to thank you for bringing the lecture here. It was a great experience and we had a lot of fun. We hope the lecture returns soon.

Read more here.

Curtis McMullen

2002 Lecture

Curtis McMullen, Harvard mathematics professor and 1998 Fields Medalist, spoke on "From Triangles to Infinity." McMullen motivated the talk by asking the audience what path a lion should take to capture a human, if both are in an enclosed ring. A little later in the talk, he asked students in the audience to assemble polyhedra using interlocking triangles, given the constraint that a fixed number of triangles have to meet at each vertex. As the title of the talk suggests, there were many different areas of mathematics touched on by McMullen, including: Fermat's Last Theorem, Zeno's Paradoxes, hyperbolic and spherical geometry, the harmonic series, and tiling. Near the end of his talk, McMullen showed a path that a human could take to elude the lion and used results about infinite series to demonstrate the path's effectiveness. The teachers and students who filled the Boston Museum of Science auditorium thoroughly enjoyed the subject of the talk and the manner in which it was delivered. Many students sought out McMullen after his talk to ask questions, and some even asked for his autograph.

Read more here.

Curtis McMullen

2001 Lecture

Mary Ellen Rudin (University of Wisconsin) and John H. Conway (Princeton University), The AMS partnered with the St. Louis Science Center on April 3 to present the twelfth in this series of lectures for talented high school mathematics students. Over 125 students and teachers came to hear this year's invited speakers, Mary Ellen Rudin (University of Wisconsin) and John H. Conway (Princeton University).

Professors Rudin and Conway circulated freely among the students and teachers as they arrived, introducing themselves and chatting. One busload came all the way from Breese, Illinois, two hours away! Conway, in his inimitable style, entertained all and challenged some with his sleight of hand using ropes and metal braids.

Read more here.


In the late 1980s, with the encouragement of Professor Paul J. Sally, Jr., (1933-2013) of the University of Chicago, the American Mathematical Society instituted a series of lectures aimed at talented high school mathematics students. In 1993, the series was dedicated to Professor Arnold E. Ross of Ohio State University for his many contributions to the development of mathematical and scientific talent.

As chairman of the mathematics department at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Arnold Ross started a mathematics enrichment program for high school teachers in 1947. He started his multi-level summer program for gifted high school students in 1957 and ran it every summer until 2000, giving the number theory lecture each morning.

In keeping with this prestigious tradition, the American Mathematical Society is proud to present the annual Arnold Ross Lecture for talented high school mathematics students. These lectures are sustained, in part, by an endowment established in 1996, by Professor Sally.

This is a time of exciting progress in the mathematical sciences. Mathematical research has stimulated new ideas in many subject areas – computer science, physics, engineering, biology, the behavioral sciences, and other disciplines.

For additional information contact Robin at the American Mathematical Society.

Committee for Arnold Ross Lectures

  • David E Marker, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Steven Joel Miller, Williams College
  • Zvezdelina E Stankova, University of California, Berkeley
  • Mark Tomforde, Chair, University of Houston

Links of Interest

American Mathematical Society