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Distilled: Pub Talks

Held on the first Wednesday of the month at The Half Penny, Distilled features free public talks by Willamette scholars. No background knowledge is needed, and a Q&A follows each talk.

Aug. 1 — The Geometry of Gerrymandering

On. Aug. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at The Half Penny, Willamette University’s “Distilled” series will feature a talk from math professor Kathryn Nyman, who will present “Distilled: The Geometry of Gerrymandering.”

Every ten years, state legislatures reconsider their electoral districts. Upcoming elections will determine which party approves new districts and, in many cases, which party will control state legislatures.

“Partisan gerrymandering dilutes the will of the voters and erodes trust in the political process, and sophisticated mapping software has made it easier than ever for politicians to craft skewed voting maps,” says Nyman.

Mathematicians are getting involved, using data to identify and quantify gerrymandering. At the talk, Nyman will describe these tools and show how data can highlight gerrymandered electoral districts.

After receiving her bachelor’s in mathematics from Carthage College, Nyman earned a doctorate at Cornell University, where she studied combinatorics. First a post-doc fellow at Texas A&M University, Nyman was an assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago before joining Willamette’s math department in 2009.

Just south of Madrona at 3743 Commercial St. S.The Half Penny is open to all ages until 9 p.m.

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