Free Money: July 25th Deadline for AMS Travel Grants

As much as we might want summer to last forever, the Fall semester will be upon us before we know it! Luckily, with it comes a new batch of fantastic math networking opportunities at the four upcoming AMS Sectional Meetings:

The Sectionals are conveniently scheduled around weekends to minimize overlap with teaching and coursework. We enthusiastically encourage you to browse the program for each meeting (by clicking the four links above) and consider attending the AMS Sectional Meeting that is most appealing to you.

Best of all, the AMS is providing some $250 travel grants for graduate students (click the link for eligibility details). The application deadline is July 25th, 2016 at 11:59pm EDT (East Coast time).

Applications are only accepted through the MathPrograms.org link given below, and application results are given out nice and quickly by August 19th. The application is simple (no reference letters!) and well worth a little bit of your time. Remember: if you spend, say, half an hour filling out the application and you receive the award, then that’s equivalent to earning $500 an hour. Not bad!

Click here to apply for the AMS grad student travel grant for the Fall semester Sectional Meetings Continue reading “Free Money: July 25th Deadline for AMS Travel Grants” »

Posted in AMS, Announcement, Conferences | 1 Comment

Mathematics and Dance: Enhancing Understanding Through Movement

A guest post by Jenna Jensen:

Jenna Jensen_925513_assignsubmission_file_jensen math danceErik Stern and Karl Schaefer discuss the cross-curricular possibilities with math and the art of movement and dance in their video, Math Dance. I think it is appropriate to ask in what ways can art benefit the math classroom? Is dance the only method that we should consider? What benefits do students gain from movement in the classroom? Not only am I on track to become a math teacher at the secondary level, but I also am a dancer. How perfect is it to come across a Ted talk that addresses two of my greatest passions in life? Continue reading “Mathematics and Dance: Enhancing Understanding Through Movement” »

Posted in Math Education, Math Games | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Scott Kim: The Power of Puzzle Creation

Guest Author: Hana Lobsinger

In his Ted Talk, The Art of Puzzles, puzzle master Scott Kim walks the audience through his career of designing puzzles, displaying his passion and the meaning behind his work. Puzzles can be described in different ways and come in a variety of forms. In his talk, Kim defines a puzzle as a “problem that is fun to solve and has a right answer.” Not only does he think of them as a kind of hobby or entertaining activity, he states that puzzles are a form of art that he has dedicated himself to for over 20 years. Starting at a young age, Scott Kim gained an interest in creating puzzles and turned his passion into a career. His main goal in his work Hana Lobsinger_925505_assignsubmission_file_Scott Kim Puzzle Masteris to create puzzles that are memorable and leave a lasting impression.

When we think of puzzles, we might initially think of the typical puzzles like jigsaw, crossword, or games like chess. Scott Kim’s work falls outside of this mold. As a puzzle master, he has created a wide variety of puzzles. In this talk, he breaks up his journey into multiple parts. He begins with his first time creating an original puzzle with the “folded letter.” His interest shifted to the perception-altering form of puzzles called “figure ground,” then to games and investigative reporting for publications like Discover Magazine. Most recently, his focus has turned to online games connected to social media, specifically through his website shufflebrain.com that he created with his wife, Amy Jo Kim. Continue reading “Scott Kim: The Power of Puzzle Creation” »

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Infinity Elephants and Gabriel’s Horn

Guest Author: Brian Hook

A screenshot of Vi Hart's "Infinity Elephants" video which creatively addresses infinite series.

A screenshot of Vi Hart’s “Infinity Elephants” video which creatively addresses infinite series.

Vi Hart’s Doodling in Math Class: Infinity Elephants is a fun little video that brushes over many mathematical concepts without getting bogged down in technical jargon. Vi, a prolific recreational mathematician who also contributes heavily to Khan Academy, starts the video off by discussing infinite series such as ½ + ¼ + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32 + … = 1 and the issue of convergence of series. As you can see in the screenshot here, Vi draws elephants of length  ½, 1/4, 1/8… of a page and relates this drawing to the idea of convergent series.

Watching the video reminded me of the dilemma Continue reading “Infinity Elephants and Gabriel’s Horn” »

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Nate Silver and the Stylish Statistics of Predicting Elections

Guest Author: Michael Dimock

Nate Silver speaking at SXSW in 2009. Photo by Randy Stewart, available under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Nate Silver speaking at SXSW in 2009. Photo by Randy Stewart, available under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Nate Silver is a statistics guru whose claim to fame has come from correctly predicting 49 of the 50 states in the 2008 presidential election as well as all 35 senate races. He then showed that this performance was far from a fluke as he gave another outstanding prediction for the 2012 U.S. election. A leader in the field of political statistics, he is the founder and editor-in-chief of his popular website FiveThirtyEight. Extending far beyond major political elections, the website also works with the statistics of sports, science, health, economics, and culture. Nate Silver can be referred to as both a star and a statistician—a combination that sounds more like a contradiction than a reality.

Being a mathematics major, I have learned to never blindly trust the statistics that show up in news reports, and Nate Silver is often one of the first to warn others to be wary of statistics presented in the media. A good intro piece to Silver’s statistical style and ability is the following video where Silver explores Continue reading “Nate Silver and the Stylish Statistics of Predicting Elections” »

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