Pi Moments(*)

The eleventh annual FAU Math Day will be held on Pi Day 2015, Saturday, March 14, 2015, on the Boca Raton campus of Florida Atlantic University. It will be a Pi infused Math Day! Participants can expect exciting competitions and instructive lectures designed to please everybody who loves mathematics, who is contemplating a career in mathematics or science, or who already is pursuing such a career. If you are a high school student who likes and enjoys mathematics come for a day of excitement and fun, with a chance to win prizes and to learn more about mathematics. If you are a teacher, come to see your students compete and to meet your college colleagues. Math Day is an opportunity for high school mathematics faculty and mathematically inclined students of schools in Palm Beach, Broward, Martin and Dade counties, and for math faculty and students at Florida Atlantic University to get together, get to know each other, and share their appreciation of mathematics.

The current Math Day will follow the format of the previous ones; with two competitions: An individual competition, with prizes for the winner and the two runner ups, and a team competition loosely modelled on the AMS competition Who Wants to be a Mathematician. This last competition will alternate between mathematics questions, and what could be called Math Trivia questions; i.e., questions from the history of mathematics. We will award three prizes for that competition: Best in the math part, best in the so called trivia part, best overall. In addition to the competitions, there will be other opportunities to win prizes during the day. More details on the competitions will be forthcoming as we get closer to the day itself.

This year's keynote speaker is Professor Colin Adams, the Thomas T. Read Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Professor Adams work is in knot theory and low dimensional topology; he has also been known to dabble a bit in real estate trying to sell lots in hyperbolic space. A few years ago he and another Williams College colleague, Professor Thomas Garrity debated about which was the most important number, π or e. Professor Adams defended π so it is with great pleasure that we have him here on Pi Day. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards, among them the Deborah and Franklin Haimo National Distinguished Teaching Award.

Registration:    Students can register as individuals or be registered by a teacher as part of a team. Students registered as part of a team are also automatically registered as individuals and can take part in both competitions. Registration is free and is on a first come, first served basis. It will be held open until 250 students are registered or until 5PM of Thursday March 12, whichever happens first. Depending on the number of participants, late, at the door registration might be allowed. We would like to invite all high school teachers to register one or more teams of three to five students to represent their school. To register, please click on the appropriate link below.

The rules for the competitions are:

Tentative Schedule

8:00-8:30 AMPick up registration packages
8:30-9:00 AMReception by the Chair of Mathematical Sciences at FAU (GN 101)
9:00-10:15AMIndividual Competition (GN 101)

Lecture for Sponsors:
Three Dimensions Of Mathematics Teaching
Katarzyna (Kasia) Winkowska Nowak(**) (PS 109)
10:30-11:30AMKeynote Address:
Blown Away: What Knot to Do When Sailing
by Sir Randolph Bacon III, as told by Professor Colin Adams

Being a tale of adventure on the high seas involving great risk to the tale teller, and how an understanding of the mathematical theory of knots saved his bacon.
No nautical or mathematical background assumed.
1:30-3:00PMTeam Competition
3:00-3:30PMAwards Ceremony (Sponsors)(GN 101)

For questions or suggestions, send your e-mails to faumathday@fau.edu or call Dr. Tomas Schonbek at (561) 297-3355. Suggestions from teachers, especially from those who attended previous Math Days, are particularly welcome.

On Line Registration

Student, individually

Teacher, registering a team

Teacher, registering individually
The reception, both competitions, the keynote lecture and the awards ceremony will take place in GN 101.

Participants should first go to the SE Building for registration, and directions to the other venues. Breakfast will be held in the PS building, right beside the SE building. SE appears as Building # 43 on the interactive FAU map at http://uavp.fau.edu/Flashmap/FAUMap.html Parking will be in lot 4.

About FAU. Florida Atlantic University serves over 22,000 undergraduates, and 5,000 graduate and professional students in a rapidly expanding urban environment with a main campus located three miles from the Atlantic Ocean, on an 850-acre site in Boca Raton. The department of mathematical sciences offers the degrees BA, BS, MS, MS in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, MS in Teaching, and PhD in Mathematics. There are 35 faculty members in the department, most of them actively engaged in research in areas that range from the purely classical to cutting edge applications in biomathematics and communications security. Students graduating from the department have the option of pursuing careers in teaching, in industry, or continue their mathematical education by enrolling in a graduate program, either at FAU or elsewhere. For qualified students, the department offers a combined BS-MS program.


Math Day 2015 is made possible through the very generous underwriting sponsorship of Wells Fargo Bank.

Math Day is organized by Tomas Schonbek, Emily Cimillo, and Helen Randall. However, it would not be possible without the enthusiastic and indispensable support received from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, the Center for Cryptology and Information Security, the staff, faculty, and students of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and last, but definitely not least, from all the hard working high school mathematics teachers in Broward, Palm Beach, Dade, and Martin counties.


(*) ``Pi Moments'' is a series of vignettes about π and about people who made important contributions to what we know of one of it. Clicking on the image opens a larger, occasionally an expanded, pdf version on another page. Most of the information comes from the excellent MacTutor website at http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/, a history of mathematics site created and maintained by two professors of St. Andrews University in Scotland.

(**)Dr. Katarzyna Winkowska-Nowak is a Polish mathematician who shares her life between Poland and Florida. Beside her scientific interests, she is engaged in improving mathematical education from middle school all the way to college. She is the author of several books on mathematical education and she founded several institutions to promote innovative models of teaching, such as the ROSE Teachers Association, AKCES Foundation, and the Geogebra Institute of Poland. She was recently honored by being elected a Fellow of the Ashoka Foundation for Social Innovation for her social entrepreneurship.