Is a random triangle obtuse or acute

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2010 Les Woods Memorial Lecture

Is a random triangle obtuse or acute?

Professor Gilbert Strang

7pm, 21 May 2010

Room 1439, Engineering Building, Ground Floor, 20 Symonds Street

  • 6 pm. Drinks in the Neon Foyer, 20 Symonds Street
  • 7-8 pm Talk in Room Eng1439, 20 Symonds Street


This question has been asked by many, and the answer depends on the meaning of “random”.

Gilbert Strang’s experiments with randomly generated triangles give a nice ratio of obtuse to acute. So too does a new study by Alan Edelman, by coming to the same answer in a very different way. Hear Gil talk about the life of a Mathematician and the beautiful picture of ‘triangle space’.


Parking is available at $5 per night at the Owen Glenn building in Grafton Rd very near the intersection with Symonds St (about a 3 minute walk from the Engineering building).

Invited speaker(s)

Gilbert Strang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


All welcome. The talk is aimed at a general audience


Free entry.


The Les Woods Memorial Lectures Series is an joint initiative of the

  • Institute of Information and Mathematical Sciences, Albany Campus, Massey University
  • School of Engineering, University of Auckland
  • Department of Mathematics, University of Auckland
  • Department of Statistics, University of Auckland

About Les Woods

Les Woods (1922-2007), in whose memory this series is dedicated, is arguably New Zealand's most distinguished real-world applied mathematician. A graduate of both the Universities of Auckland and Oxford and a Rhodes Scholar, he is especially known for his work in plasma physics.

About the speaker

Gil Strang is one of the world's most distinguished applied mathematicians and a highly regarded expositor of popular mathematics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Professor of Mathematics at MIT and an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College.

Professor Strang has published eight textbooks. He was the President of SIAM during 1999 and 2000, and Chair of the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics. He received the von Neumann Medal of the US Association for Computational Mechanics, and the Henrici Prize for applied analysis. The first Su Buchin Prize from the International Congress of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Haimo Prize from the Mathematical Association of America, were awarded for his contributions to teaching around the world.

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