Astronomy

Biology

Chemistry

Computer Science

Earth Science

Engineering

Math

Medical

Microbiology

Neuroscience

Optics

Social Science

Physics

*****

Espaņol

Sign-up for FTK Bulletin

Math
  

Taking Math to the Streets

BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- For many people math is a scary subject. Only 39 percent of fourth graders and 34 percent of eighth graders scored at or above the proficient level. Hours spent in school or doing homework with word problems, algebra and geometry can create a math phobia for many students, who end up frightened by math as adults. Here is a way to look at mathematics in a different way and learn to love it.

You need Flash Player 8 or higher to view video content with the ROO Flash Player. Click here to download and install it.

However you might see the world -- chaotic, peaceful, boring -- mathematicians see it differently.

"As mathematicians we're trained to identify pattern," Robert Lewand, Ph.D., a mathematician at Goucher College in Baltimore, Md., explained to Ivanhoe.

Patterns that can be found nearly anywhere.

"So, these patterns occur not only among numbers and mathematical concepts, but also in nature and in architecture, and the building environment and the natural environment," Dr. Lewand said.

Dr. Lewand shows us some hidden examples of math found around town that may often go un-noticed.

"There are so many examples of mathematics that even I wasn't aware until I opened up my eyes and started looking for them," said Dr. Lewand.

A common example is a tessellation, a complete covering of an area using one shape that does not overlap or have gaps. Examples are a brick sidewalk, hardwood floors, and most of the tile work in your home.

"Most everyone's tiled shower in a bathroom is an example of a tessellation because the wall is completely covered by non-overlapping squares," Dr. Lewand said.

Math is found in nature, this plant is an example of a fractal -- it's a geometric shape that repeats itself. If you cut a piece of this plant, you would have a smaller copy of the original plant.

"So, every shoot basically looks like the whole plant itself," Dr. Lewand explained.

Outdoors or indoors, math is all around town.

Having a career as a mathematician was rated as the number one best job, according to a study ranking the best and worst jobs in the U.S. According to the study, mathematicians fared best in part because they typically work in favorable conditions -- indoors and in places free of toxic fumes or noise.

The American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Robert Edward Lewand, PhD
Goucher College
Baltimore, Maryland 21204
(410) 337 6239
rlewand@goucher.edu

Ivars Peterson
Mathematical Association of America,
Washington, DC 20036-1358
(800) 741-9415
http://www.maa.org

ipeterson@maa.org

Mike Breen and Annette Emerson
American Mathematical Society
Providence, RI 02904-2294
(800) 321-4267
http://www.ams.org

paoffice@ams.org


This Month's TV Reports
Preventing Deaths on the Playing Field

One in 500 athletes have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy -- a heart problem that can end in tragedy. Most people don't even know they have it. Now, one college is changing the way testing is done in the hopes of saving young lives.

 

Detecting Bombs, Saving Lives

As witnessed in the Oscar-winning film the hurt locker, they can be hidden anywhere and made out of just about anything. Improvised explosive devices or IEDs are hard to find, but a student competition found a new way to detect danger before it's too late.

 

Phantom Traffic Jams

Small disturbances like hitting the brakes too hard or tailgating can lead to phantom traffic jams, but now mathematicians are using their skills to try to understand and solve the problem.

 

Killing Our Oceans

Seventy-one percent of the earth's surface is covered with water. Fifty percent of all of life on earth is found in the ocean. But their home may be in danger. Dead zones are appearing and spreading around the globe.

 

Trash Your Running Shoes: Go Barefoot!

It's time to trash those sneakers. Running barefoot is the new fitness fad!

 

Making Melanoma Self-Destruct

For the thousands every year who need more than surgery to battle melanoma, a new drug begin developed by a research facility in Spain could be the answer.

 

Parents Preventing Asthma Attacks

Asthma is the most common chronic illness children face. It affects over five million kids in the U.S. It's not a curable disease, but the symptoms can be eased with a few simple routines at home.

 

Doctors Playing Doctor

Every year 36,000 U.S. children are born with heart defects -- abnormalities that keep their hearts from functioning properly, putting their lives at risk. Now, a virtual tool is giving surgeons a new way to predict and improve the outcome for these tiny patients, before they ever get to the OR.

 

Two Blindness Breakthroughs

Every five seconds, someone in the world goes blind. Six million people in the United States are losing or have lost their sight to eye disease. By 2020, that number is expected to double. But researchers may be on the trail to a cure for blindness.

 

Taking Math to the Streets

Hours spent in school or doing homework with word problems, algebra and geometry can create a math phobia for many students, who end up frightened by math as adults. But looking at mathematics in a different way can help people learn to love it.

 

Creating Science Masterpieces

As engineering students at Georgia Tech were trying to develop a new material to clean emissions from engines, they also discovered something beautiful: works of art.

 

Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies

For many parents, getting kids to eat their vegetables is a battle. It often requires patience, persistence, and maybe a little pleading on the side. Researchers say the reason some kids have a tougher time than others may be in their genes.

 

Prior Reports
A joint production of Ivanhoe Broadcast News and the American Institute of Physics.
  Ivanhoe Broadcast News
2745 West Fairbanks Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 740-0789
http://www.ivanhoe.com

American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 19740-3843
(301) 209-3100
http://www.aip.org/dbis
  P.O. Box 865
Orlando, Florida 32802
scitech@ivanhoe.com
 
  © 2010 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.  
DBIS