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Skip Garibaldi: “Identifying Lottery Scams Using Mathematics and Public Lottery Data”

Skip Garibaldi, 2017 Moody Lecture Speaker

Professor Skip Garibaldi presented the thirteenth lecture in The Michael E. Moody Lecture Series on “Identifying Lottery Scams Using Mathematics and Public Lottery Data”.

Skip Garibaldi is a mathematician known for his work on algebraic groups, especially exceptional groups such as E8; the book Cohomological invariants in Galois cohomology with Alexander Merkurjev and Jean-Pierre Serre; and his work on the lottery, which led to changes in state policy and arrests.  Millions of people have seen him talk about his work on 20/20, CNN, and Fox & Friends, and he is a consultant for and part of a museum exhibit about mathematics that has been traveling the country since opening at the Smithsonian in spring 2012.

He is Incoming Director of the Center for Communications Research in La Jolla. Previously he was associate director of the Institute for Pure & Applied Mathematics at UCLA; Winship Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science at Emory University; a postdoc at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH); held visiting positions at Université d’Artois and Université Paris-Nord in France; and been a Gambrinus Fellow at TU Dortmund.  In 2014, he was appointed to the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board by the Secretary of Defense.

More information about Skip Garibaldi is available from his website.

The lecture took place on March 30, 2017, at 7:00 PM, in HMC's Shanahan Center Auditorium.


This talk will tell the story of how a journalist, two mathematicians, and a statistician teamed up and used mathematics to identify people who were using the lottery as an adjunct to their illicit activities. The analysis combined old and new mathematics with on-the-ground detective work. The resulting series of journal and newspaper articles led to arrests and changes in state policy, and contributed to the resignation of the head of the Florida lottery. Still, many questions remain to be investigated.