SHIPPENSBURG — Doug Ensley, professor of mathematics at Shippensburg University, will kick off Mathematics Awareness Month with a lecture at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in Dauphin Humanities Center 151.
Ensley’s topic will be “Mathematics, Magic and Mystery: Permutations and Invariance in Card Tricks.” His talk is free and open to the public.
The theme of Mathematics Awareness Month this year in honor of longtime science writer, amateur magician and mathematics popularizer Martin Gardner.
Ensley’s presentation will show how understanding mathematical properties of card shuffling allows a magician to find order where the spectators expect disorder, often to surprising effect.
Ensley has been at Shippensburg since 1993. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama-Huntsville and his Ph.D. in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University.
He has produced many articles and presentations on the use of “recreational” mathematics to teach serious mathematical concepts, including “Discrete Mathematics: Mathematical Reasoning and Proof with Puzzles, Patterns, and Games,” a textbook written with fellow faculty member J. Winston Crawley.