# Ravi Vakil: “The Mathematics of Doodling”

**Professor Ravi Vakil of Stanford
University** presented the fifth lecture in The
Michael E. Moody Lecture Series on **“The Mathematics of Doodling”**

Ravi Vakil is a Professor of Mathematics at Stanford, where he is also the Robert K. Packard University Fellow and the David Huntington Faculty Scholar. He is an algebraic geometer, and his work touches on many other parts of mathematics, including topology, string theory, applied mathematics, combinatorics, number theory, and more.

He was born in Toronto, Canada, and studied at the University
of Toronto, where he was a four-time Putnam Fellow (winner of the
Putnam competition). He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1997,
and taught at Princeton and MIT before moving to Stanford in 2001.
He has received the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching, the
AMS Centennial Fellowship, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and the
Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and
numerous other awards. He is also currently the Mathematical
Association of America's Pólya Lecturer 2012–2014, and an
informal advisor to the new website math*overflow*. He
works extensively with talented younger mathematicians at all
levels, from high school (through math circles, camps, and
olympiads), through recent Ph.D.'s.

More information about Ravi Vakil is available from his website.

The lecture took place on **Friday, April 19,
2013**, at **7:00 PM**, in HMC's
Galileo McAlister lecture hall.

## Abstract

Doodling has many mathematical aspects: patterns, shapes, numbers, and more. Not surprisingly, there is often some sophisticated and fun mathematics buried inside common doodles. I'll begin by doodling, and see where it takes us. It looks like play, but it reflects what mathematics is really about: finding patterns in nature, explaining them, and extending them. By the end, we'll have seen some important notions in geometry, topology, physics, and elsewhere; some fundamental ideas guiding the development of mathematics over the course of the last century; and ongoing work continuing today.