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The Christmas Lecture & Reception


Location: Jordan Hall of Science 105 & Galleria


Unwrap the magic of science at The 2023 Christmas Lecture featuring Jordan Ellenberg

The Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison

"Math is the science of not being wrong. It touches everything we do."

How can you stop a pandemic from sweeping the world? Can ancient Greek proportions predict the stock market? And why is learning to play chess so much easier for computers than learning to read a sentence? 

Math, according to New York Times bestselling author, Jordan Ellenberg, helps every kind of thinker think better—it hones our intuition, sharpens our judgment, tames uncertainty, and lets us see the deeper structure and logic of our world.

Ellenberg is the author of several books. His most recent, *Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy and Everything Else*, combines his trademark intellectual curiosity and jargon-free language to transform a long-forgotten subject from our high school days into a powerful tool for measuring the world around us. His previous books include *How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinkin*—a beautifully written and refreshingly lucid mathematic exploration praised by the *New York Times* and *Washington Post*—and *The Grasshopper King*. Recently, he served as a consultant (and actor, briefly!) for the film *Gifted*, directed by Marc Webb, who cast Ellenberg for the role because, in his words: “he’s just a really charismatic teacher.”

Ellenberg has held an NSF-CAREER grant and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and in 2013 he was named one of the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. His work has appeared in the *New York Times*, the *Wall Street Journal*, the *Washington Post*, *Wired*, *The Believer*, and the *Boston Globe*, and he is the author of the “Do the Math” column in *Slate*. His *Wired* feature story on compressed sensing appeared in the Best Writing on Mathematics 2011 anthology.  

About The Christmas Lecture

The Christmas Lecture presented by the College of Science aims to inspire in general audiences from age 5 to 105 the curiosity and wonder of scientific inquiry. Modeled after the Royal Institution’s Christmas Lecture series, the College of Science invites a world-renowned scientist to Notre Dame to present a series of lectures for all audiences.  

View the 2021 Christmas Lecture on YouTube: 

Originally published at

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