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Kutztown University Hosts 7th Annual Pirnot Lecture

March 4, 2014

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - Kutztown University's Department of Mathematics will host their seventh annual Pirnot lecture at 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 12 in Boehm room 260. Light refreshments will be served prior to the event, at 4:30 p.m.

This year's speaker, Dr. Derek Smith, associate professor of mathematics at Lafayette College, will present "Pondering Packing Puzzles: Research in Recreational Mathematics."

Here's a puzzle for you: Is it possible to assemble six 1´2´2 blocks and three 1´1´1 blocks into a 3´3´3 cube? If so, in how many ways can this be done?

Don't look up the solution! This is the Slothouber-Graatsma-Conway Puzzle, often called the smallest non-trivial three-dimensional block-packing puzzle. During the lecture, Smith will discuss this packing puzzle, as well as describe an infinite family of 'packing puzzles,' and will introduce the audience to Burr Tools, a computer program that facilitates the investigation of packing and other types of puzzles. 

This event is free and open to the public. 

For more information contact Brian Kronenthal, assistant professor of mathematics, at 610-683-4393 or