August 22, 2014
Math wars: Rote memorization plays crucial role in teaching students how to solve complex calculations, study says

Joseph Brean:

In a finding sure to inflame the math wars, a team of neuroscientists has revealed the crucial role played by rote memorization in the growing brains of young math students.

The first of what, I’m sure, will be many back-to-school articles on the issue… 

[source: mme rss]

August 16, 2014
Britain's maths policy simply doesn't add up

Jo Boaler:

Maryam, who is responsible for what fellow mathematicians call “probably the theorem of the decade”, studies the geometry of curved surfaces. To non-mathematicians, that might sound impenetrable, but Maryam describes her research in terms that we can all understand. Maths, she says, is like writing a novel. “There are different characters, and you are getting to know them better. Things evolve, and then you look back at a character, and it’s completely different from your first impression.”

[source: mme rss]

August 13, 2014
Does it even matter if Americans are terrible at math?

Libby Nelson:

The PISA scores suggest American students aren’t particularly good at real-world math, or at least at the problems they’re tested on. But education policy doesn’t usually exist in a vacuum. Lately, it’s been part of an economic argument: for the US to stay competitive, American students need to learn more than they do now.

[source: mme rss]

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Filed under: pisa 
August 12, 2014
The Glory of Math Is to Matter

Amir Alexander:

In 1842, when the famed German mathematician Carl Gustav Jacobi was invited to speak to a scientific meeting in Manchester, he had a surprise in store for his English hosts. “It is the glory of science to be of no use,” he announced to the startled gathering of physical scientists. The true aim of science is “the honor of the human spirit,” and whether it turns out to be of any practical use matters not at all.

[source: mme rss]

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Filed under: history 
August 12, 2014
2014 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners Announced

Articles on each of Artur Avila, Manjul Bhargava, Martin Hairer, Maryam Mirzakhani, and Subhash Khot over at Quanta.

[source: mme rss]

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Filed under: fields quanta 
August 11, 2014
How to Talk About the Fields Medal at Your Next Cocktail Party

Evelyn Lamb:

On Wednesday, four mathematicians will receive the prestigious Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Seoul. If you go to the kinds of parties I do, the Fields Medal will probably come up at the next party you attend, so here’s your guide for conversing about the medal with aplomb.

[source: mme rss]

August 9, 2014
The MathEd Out Podcast

Adrian Pumphrey:

Welcome to the MathEd Out Podcast! This show is for mathematics educators who want to hear about the latest ideas and resources that are available. Each episode we will be interviewing someone from the Math-Ed community who has a unique insight into what a great math class looks like.

[source: mme rss]

August 9, 2014
Discovery Mathematics

Irfan Muzaffar:

What sort of beliefs about the nature of mathematics should undergird the curriculum and instruction when we live in a world that requires mathematical proficiency to live a productive life?

[source: mme rss]

August 9, 2014
Can a mathematical equation really be the formula for happiness?

Brock Bastian:

In an attempt to provide insight to the happiness conundrum, a group of researchers from London recently published a mathematical formula in PNAS that predicts people’s subjective ratings of their happiness from moment to moment. Drawing on models of how we respond to reward, they showed that people feel happy when they experience momentary rewards, and that the influence of such rewards quickly decays over time.

[source: mme rss]

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Filed under: formulae 
August 9, 2014
How Math Got Its ‘Nobel’

Michael J. Barany:

On Wednesday in Seoul, the International Congress of Mathematicians will announce the winners of the Fields Medal. First awarded in Oslo in 1936, the medal is given every four years to two to four mathematicians. It is considered the “Nobel Prize” of mathematics (even the organizers of the congress call it that), filling a gap left by Alfred Nobel, who did not include mathematics among the prizes endowed on his death in 1896.

[source: mme rss]

August 8, 2014
Americans Are Bad at Math, but It’s Not Too Late to Fix

Carl Richards:

I suspect it’s tied, in large part, to the problems Elizabeth Green outlined in painful detail in her much-discussed article in The New York Times Magazine, “Why Do Americans Stink at Math?” She wrote, “As a nation, we suffer from an ailment that John Allen Paulos, a Temple University math professor and an author, calls innumeracy — the mathematical equivalent of not being able to read. On national tests, nearly two-thirds of fourth graders and eighth graders are not proficient in math.” The results aren’t much better among adults. As Ms. Green noted, “A 2012 study comparing 16-to-65-year-olds in 20 countries found that Americans rank in the bottom five in numeracy.”

[source: mme rss]

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Filed under: paulos 
August 1, 2014
Most Math Problems Do Not Have a Unique Right Answer

Keith Devlin:

One of the most widely held misconceptions about mathematics is that a math problem has a unique correct answer.

[source: mme rss]

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Filed under: devlin maa 
July 27, 2014
NY Times obsesses about math again; every kid loses

Roger Schank:

I have a confession to make. I did graduate admissions in computer science for more than 25 years. The first thing I looked for was the applicant’s math GRE score. I eliminated anyone under 96th percentile. (Also, to add to my confession. I majored in Mathematics in college.) 

[source: mme rss]

July 27, 2014
If you're avoiding air travel after MH17 and more, let statistics be your guide

James Ball:

Is it really so irrational to avoid air travel in the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, and the TransAsia crash off the coast of Taiwan, and now the Algerian airliner in Northern Africa?

Yes. Completely, totally and entirely irrational. You are probably not going to die in an airplane crash.

[source: mme rss]

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Filed under: stats 
July 27, 2014
Another tragic cluster - but how surprised should we be?

Sir David Spiegelhalter:

However, it shows that flying can still carry some danger. 91 commercial flights containing 18 or more passengers have crashed in the previous 10 years (2004 to 2013), a rate of one every 40 days on average. So how surprising is it that 3 should happen in a space of 8 days?

[source: Spiegelhalter’s Twitter feed]

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