Neil Sloane delivers the 22nd annual Owens Lecture

Neil Sloane delivers the 22nd annual Owens Lecture on April 3, at 3 p.m., in the Purdy-Kresge Auditorium. This talk should be of interest to a "general audience", i.e., mathematically-inclined undergraduates as well as graduate students and faculty in quantitative fields and anyone who enjoys thinking about patterns of numbers.

What is the next number after 1, 2, 5, 14, 42? – Confessions of a Sequence Addict

Abstract: The author began collecting number sequences almost 50 years ago. Today the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences contains over 200,000 sequences. This talk will describe some highlights, including the sequences of Fibonacci, Kelly, Recaman, Gijswijt, van Eck, and the dismal primes. There will be music and movies, and a number of unsolved problems.


He will also give a colloquium talk on April 4 at 3 p.m., location TBA. This will be of interest to a more mathematically sophisticated audience, but it will not be overly technical.

The Sphere Packing Problem: Applications and Recent Developments

Abstract: In the 15 years since my book with John Conway on Sphere Packing appeared, there have been some surprising developments, due to the work of Musin, Cohn, Elkies, Kumar, Nebe and others. The kissing number problem in four dimensions has been settled, and there is a new proof of the three-dimensional kissing number. The Leech lattice is now known to be optimal among all lattice packings in 24 dimensions, and the 8-dimensional E8 lattice and L24 have both been proved to be (very nearly!) optimal among all packings. A long-sought 72-dimensional analog of the Leech lattice has finally been found. In this talk I will give an overview of the sphere-packing problem, emphasizing the connections with coding theory. No prior knowledge of the subject will be assumed.


Dr. Neil Sloane is the creator and editor of the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1967 from Cornell University, he joined AT&T Bell Labs in 1968, becoming an AT&T Fellow in 1998. His honors include the Chauvenet Prize and the David P. Robbins Award from the Mathematical Association of America, and the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal. He is an IEEE Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.


The Owens Lecture is named for the late Owen G. Owens, a former professor of mathematics at Wayne State University. The Lecture is supported by the Owens Fund, which was established by the family of Professor Owens. Previous speakers have included eminent mathematicians from around the world representing a wide array of interests.

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