Fist Bumps and Graph Theory: Math Department Holds Third Guest Speaker


Samantha Gitlin

FIU math professor Tedi Draghici gives students a guest lecture about graph theory.

Samantha Gitlin, Copy Editor

On Thursday, the Math Department held its third guest speaker, Florida International University’s Professor Tedi Draghici, who spoke about graph theory and its connection to society.

Draghici, along with one of his PHD students, Jose Medel, spoke about how to use graph theory, giving several examples.

The speakers connected the diversity of the math world to accomplishments in graph theory. The event started with an explanation on how math can be used in any part of the world. They gave examples on how someone in Greece, for instance, could understand the same math in America. The lecture then concluded with an explanation on how graph models are applied to the real world. 

“Dr. Draghici was my professor in college. It was very exciting to see him in action,” said math teacher Yety Martin. “It brought back a lot of college memories.”

The lecture consisted of real life examples of math and how to graph them. For example, the professor fist-bumped an attendee and explained how to graph it. He went on to describe the types of graphs and how the edges affect the shape. He also elaborated on walks on a graph and paths, which allow and stop repetition. He then followed the lecture with the Konigsberg seven bridges problem, which was already known to some students. They were able to apply past math concepts and learn a different way to access it.

“Through our speaker series, students have been exposed to the fields of number theory and graph theory, which have many real life applications,” Martin said.

The audience was able to stay engaged throughout the whole presentation by answering and asking questions. They learned new vocabulary and concepts by understanding the graph with trial and error. If the students got a question wrong, they would continue to work on it until it was understood.

Along with the math department, Mu Alpha Theta, the math honors society, helped to organize this event. It is part of a series of speakers they are hosting. 

“The guest speaker was informative and engaging,” said freshman Ellie Whalen. “I love how he used the idea of fist bumps and translated it to a mathematical problem.”