INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH IN MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES
Centre Room 1240
10:00-10:10AM Reports: OAME, OMCA, OCMA, CMESG, CMS, and other.
10:10-10:30AM Gila Hanna (OISE, University of Toronto):
Beauty, explanation, and memorability in proof
Abstract: Aesthetic properties of proofs have played an important role
in mathematics and in mathematics education, despite having little
to do with logical correctness. The paper argues that aesthetically
pleasing proofs deserve a privileged position not only for their
beauty, but also for purely pragmatic reasons. Such proofs attract
greater interest, make it easier to explain the mathematical ideas
involved, are easier to remember, and facilitate communication
Biography: Gila Hanna is Professor Emeritus in the department of Curriculum,
Teaching and Learning (CTL).
10:30-10:50AM Gizem Karaali (Department of Mathematics, Pomona College,
Defining humanistic mathematics through personal experience
Abstract: In 2011, Journal of Humanistic Mathematics published its first
issue. In January 2014, as its seventh issue (Volume III Issue
1) came out, its content had been downloaded 55K times. Journal
of Humanistic Mathematics was inspired by the work of Alvin White,
the founding editor of the Humanistic Mathematics Network Journal
(HMNJ), a work of love that he almost single-handedly edited and
produced for 15 years. White believed wholeheartedly in the importance
of recognizing mathematics as a humanistic discipline and played
a significant role in bringing this idea to the forefront of many
minds. Today the term humanistic mathematics can encompass a broad
range of topics; for the purposes of JHM, it means "the human
face of mathematics." Thus we focus on the aesthetic, cultural,
historical, literary, pedagogical, philosophical, psychological,
and sociological aspects of mathematics as a human endeavor. Most
broadly, with JHM, we aim to provide a forum for both academic
and informal discussions about matters mathematical. In this brief
presentation I will share with the participants my personal journey
discovering humanistic mathematics. Among other things, I intend
to touch upon my experiences with JHM, its evolution, and how
all of this influenced my own relationship with mathematics, reflected
in my teaching and writing.
Biography: Gizem Karaali completed her undergraduate studies in electrical
engineering and mathematics at Bogaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey.
After receiving her PhD in Mathematics from the University of California
Berkeley, she taught at the University of California Santa Barbara for two
years. She is currently employed as a mathematician at Pomona College where
she enjoys teaching a wide variety of courses and working with many interesting
people. Gizem is one of the founding editors of Journal of Humanistic Mathematics
and is a Sepia Dot (a 2006 Project NExT fellow).
10:50-11:10AM David Talbot (University of Toronto Alumni - Industrial
Discovering and implementing ways to enable every child to experience and
love Mathematics and Statistics
Abstract: Recent breakthroughs in brain
research using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
have identified an area of the brain that "lights up"
or demonstrates a surge of brain activity when the subjects are
presented with certain images that are perceived to be "beautiful"
by the subject. Works of art, masterpieces of music, logos, religious
symbols and even mathematical formulae have been shown to produce
these results. The more "beautiful" the greater is the
surge activity in the "emotional" part of the brain.
In the case of Mathematicians, Euler's
Identity triggered the emotional response in the brain. With
this newly discovered ability to measure the emotional response,
perhaps we can now objectively address the problem of how to turn
on the next generation to Mathematics and Statistics. For those
of us who love Mathematics, we all have stories of what it was
that turned us on and probably lit up our brains. Something happened
to us. We saw something or we felt something that moved us. The
presenter will share his story of "when the light bulb went
on" and created his love of Math and Stats. Participants
will be asked to share their stories. If you would care to step
into our MRI machine while you tell us your story, you may be
able to enable the next generation to experience what we experienced.
Biography: David Talbot graduated from Industrial Engineering
at the University of Toronto in 1965. He has a distinguished career
in systems engineering, management consulting and strategic planning
in both the public and private sectors. He is a retired Professional
Engineer, former President and Fellow of the Institute of Management
Consultants of Ontario and Director of the International Council
of Management Consulting Institutes. His current position is Executive
Director of the eiphiny Society,
an organization created to discover and implement ways for every
child to experience Meaningful Emotional Humanistic Mathematical
Experiences (MEHMEs) and eipiphinies.
11:10-11:30AM Marcel Danesi (University of Toronto)
A semiotician's look into the power of mathematical symbols in media and
Biography: Marcel Danesi is professor of linguistics anthropology and semiotics
at the University of Toronto. He has worked extensively on the
relation between mathematics and symbolism and how it affects
learning math. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of "Semiotica"
the leading journal in the field of semiotics. He is also a co-director
(with D. Martinovic and R. Núñez) of the Cognitive
Science Network at the Fields Institute for the study of how mathematics
is learned in cultural settings.
11:30AM-12PM Panel discussion with all presenters.
12:00-1:00PM LUNCH BREAK
(Light refreshments provided. The lunch will be serviced back at Fields)
1:00-2:00PM General Discussion: The audience will be invited to talk about
their own personal exposure to and appreciation of aesthetic dimensions
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