Part of a series considering options for college-bound students, this column emphasizes the importance of quantitative skills across the curriculum and workforce.
"As Markov chains have become commonplace tools, the story of their origin has largely faded from memory. The story is worth retelling. It features an unusual conjunction of mathematics and literature, as well as a bit of politics and even theology."
Published 2012. "Spherical trigonometry was at the heart of astronomy and ocean-going navigation for two millennia. The discipline was a mainstay of mathematics education for centuries, and it was a standard subject in high schools until the 1950s. Today, however, it is rarely taught. Heavenly Mathematics traces the rich history of this forgotten art, revealing how the cultures of classical Greece, medieval Islam, and the modern West used spherical trigonometry to chart the heavens and the Earth. Glen Van Brummelen explores this exquisite branch of mathematics and its role in ancient astronomy, geography, and cartography; Islamic religious rituals; celestial navigation; polyhedra; stereographic projection; and more. He conveys the sheer beauty of spherical trigonometry, providing readers with a new appreciation for its elegant proofs and often surprising conclusions.
Heavenly Mathematics is illustrated throughout with stunning historical images and informative drawings and diagrams that have been used to teach the subject in the past. This unique compendium also features easy-to-use appendixes as well as exercises at the end of each chapter that originally appeared in textbooks from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries."
Educational music videos, many featuring math topics (giving rise to a new entertainment class which EdSurge calls "MuVHEMs: Music Videos Helping Explain Mathematics"
Report from the National Academies. Summary: "The mathematical sciences are part of nearly all aspects of everyday life-the discipline has underpinned such beneficial modern capabilities as Internet search, medical imaging, computer animation, numerical weather predictions, and all types of digital communications. The Mathematical Sciences in 2025 examines the current state of the mathematical sciences and explores the changes needed for the discipline to be in a strong position and able to maximize its contribution to the nation in 2025. It finds the vitality of the discipline excellent and that it contributes in expanding ways to most areas of science and engineering, as well as to the nation as a whole, and recommends that training for future generations of mathematical scientists should be re-assessed in light of the increasingly cross-disciplinary nature of the mathematical sciences. In addition, because of the valuable interplay between ideas and people from all parts of the mathematical sciences, the report emphasizes that universities and the government need to continue to invest in the full spectrum of the mathematical sciences in order for the whole enterprise to continue to flourish long-term."
"This National report examines the way in which teaching, learning and assessment is conceptualised in Welsh policy for early years science and mathematics, and the role for creativity. This report is one of 13 European national policy reports that are contributing to the Creative Little Scientist Project deliverable (D3.2 Report on Mapping and Comparing Recorded Practices) mapping and comparing policy approaches across Europe. In order to map the key messages in Welsh policy, as well as allow comparisons with other nations, this report draws upon a survey instrument used to rate the extent to which certain approaches, and the role of creativity is emphasised across relevant policy documents in this area. In the case of Wales, this was largely based upon the Framework for Children's Learning for 3 to 7 year olds in Wales, Play/Active Learning: overview for 3 to 7 year olds, the National Curriculum documents for Key Stage 2, associated assessment documents and inspection reports. "
"A consortium of education organizations will be developing an online repository of classroom videos to help new teachers learn from master instructors how to teach math and science topics in third through sixth grades. The video repository is part of a project funded by a $3 million grant from the United States Department of Education and includes participants from Stanford University and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), as well as the Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium (TPAC), which AACTE helps to operate."
From the abstract: "this study investigated how the perspectives of the non-computer science educators changed after learning game-programming and how it could be fitted into the K-12 curriculum. Fourteen non-computer science educators and/or administrators in the K - 16 educational systems who made up a cohort at Sam Houston State University, Master of Education/Instructional Technology Program participated in this study. The participants were required to learn two free Web 2.0 game-programming applications and reflect on an article related to reviving interest in math and science as part of their program. Qualitative data consisted of online reflections, and peer-review processes through Facebook. A quantitative component was added to the analysis. The findings indicated that: (a) the perspectives of the participants changed from negative to positive as they reflected on their own game-programming learning experiences; (b) participants came to understand how game programming could build up students' logical concepts and critical thinking skills improving performances in math, science, and other subjects; and (c) due to the benefits of logical concepts and critical thinking skills game programming could have immense benefits if built into the K-12 curriculum."
Maria Chudnovsky, mathematician, is one of 23 MacArthur Fellowship recipients in 2012. She is an associate professor in the department of industrial engineering and operations research at Columbia University and specializes in graph theory. With colleagues she successfully solved the "Srong Perfect Graph Theorem" which was proposed in the 1960s, and her research is potentially "deepening the connections between graph theory and other major branches of mathematics, such as linear programming, geometry, and complexity theory." A video featuring the awardee can be viewed on the web site.