Friday, March 12, 2010

Circular Billiards

Pizza Seminar

Speaker: Siyavus Acar (Western)

Title: Circular Billiards

Time: 17:00 PM, Tuesday January 26, 2010; Room: MC 107

There is an old question in optics that has been called Alhazen's Problem. The name Alhazen honours an Arab scholar Ibn-al-Haytham who flourished 1000 years ago. The problem itself can be traced further back, at least to Ptolemy's Optics written around AD 150. The problem - while considered one of the 100 great problems of elementary mathematics - is very easy to state: Given two arbitrary balls on a circular billiard table, how does one aim the object ball so that it hits the target ball after one bounce off the rim. In this talk we introduce various methods of approach that has been studied, but mainly focus on the number of solutions and their distribution on the table.

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