In February 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found Pennsylvania's Congressional districting to be an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, leading to the adoption of new map for the 2018 midterm elections. In this talk, Professor Pegden will discuss one kind of evidence which the court used to reach this conclusion. In particular, he will discuss a theorem that allows us to use randomness to detect gerrymandering of Congressional districtings in a statistically rigorous way and, more generally, the ways in which mathematics can hope to productively interact with the law. The University Libraries' first edition copy of the Bill of Rights will be on display for this event. Presented by the University Libraries and the Division of Student Affairs.


About the speaker

Wes Pegden is a Carnegie Mellon University Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, who works on Probability and Discrete Mathematics. Together with Maria Chikina and Alan Frieze, he developed rigorous ways of evaluating political maps for gerrymandering, and based on these methods, he testified as an expert witness in the recent lawsuit which resulted in a new Congressional districting of Pennsylvania.

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