EPaDel's Spring 2020 meeting will be held March 28, 2020 at Millersville University.
If you are looking for information about a past meeting, please visit EPaDel History.
Mathematics is pervasive in modern society, and on some level we all use mathematics in our daily lives. Have you ever known anyone who asserted that they do not have the "math gene"? Where do those messages come from? Popular culture can reveal, reflect, and even shape how society views mathematics and mathematicians, and we'll analyze examples from a variety of shows and films and consider the intersections of gender, race, class, and ability. We'll also discuss ways to counter stereotypes and to contribute to research in this area. At the same time we'll reflect more broadly on what mathematics has to offer, and the diverse ways that people can succeed to make an impact, including you!
The one commonality of all puzzles is their dependence on logic. However, the great majority of puzzles fail to make any further demands on the puzzle-solver. In my talk, I will focus on puzzles that have certain intrinsic structural properties that inform their solutions. The purpose here is to expose the puzzle-solver/student to certain abstract structures (groups, geometries, codes, etc.) prior to any rigorous formulation. This enables the student to experience the power and utility of these structures early on, thereby encouraging self-motivation through discovery.
This pedagogical approach poses some serious challenges for the educator as well. Not only should puzzles be selected with great care but they must be thoughtfully ordered. Progress should be gradual, with each new puzzle reinforcing the ideas of the previous one while taking abstraction to the next higher level.
This talk is dedicated to the memory of Dima fon-der-Flaass, whose love of puzzles inspired a generation of Soviet mathematicians.