Invited Address

Liz McMahon and Gary Gordon
Lafayette College

The Joy of SET


The card game SET is played with a special deck of 81 cards. There is quite a lot of mathematics that can be explored using the game; understanding that mathematics enhances our appreciation for the game, and the game enhances our appreciation for the mathematics!  We’ll look at questions in combinatorics, probability, linear algebra, and especially geometry.  The deck is an excellent model for the finite affine geometry AG(4,3) and provides an entry to surprisingly beautiful structure theorems for that geometry.  If you’d like some practice before the talk, go to for the rules and a Daily Puzzle.