ECCC and GRASCan I am travelling once again this week so my post is on the short side. I am a plenary speaker at the East Coast Combinatorics Conference (or ECCC) at Mount Saint Vincent University. After that, I am co-chairing and speaking at the Graph Searching in Canada (or GRASCan) workshop at Dalhousie University. Where my… Read More Graph theory on the Atlantic
Kids learn by example A classroom of kids cheer with joy. Later that day a boy runs in the front door of his house and says: “Mom, teacher said we didn’t have to do math today!” Sound like fiction? It’s not. A mathematician colleague of mine told me that her son experienced this in his elementary school. Some kids… Read More “Let’s not do math today”
Math anxiety We have all experienced anxiety studying mathematics. Some go so far to call it math phobia. I experience anxiety when first grappling with a mathematical research problem. My anxiety, however, turns to excitement as I work on the problem and make progress towards its solution. I have an advantage that comes from years of experience: I can see the light… Read More Math anxiety and gender
The Math Myth Andrew Hacker, a political scientist and professor emeritus, says in his book The Math Myth that we shouldn’t teach algebra in the high school mathematics courses. One reason for this is that high school drop outs cite their difficulty with mathematics as a major reason for their decision to leave. Hacker says mathematics is a ten foot… Read More Why teach algebra in high school?
Some basic questions What is the use of mathematics, and why study it in the first place? The usual responses to these questions are that: Mathematics has wide ranging applications in the sciences and in engineering. Mathematics teaches you to think logically. I am not sure, however, these responses go far enough. My own view is that… Read More Why higher mathematics?
As I watched the pilot of Fear the Walking Dead, an inescapable truth dawned on me: it must be September once again. The days are shorter, leaves are falling, and it is my busiest time of year. Bar none. The university reanimates each September after a lull in the summer. Every seminar, committee, and course begins anew,… Read More Septemberpocalypse
I wrote a paper Sketchy Tweets: Ten Minute Conjectures in Graph Theory that appeared in the Mathematical Intelligencer about famous conjectures in graph theory, all of which can be tweeted. Many of the big problems in graph theory are easy to state, but very hard to settle. It was great fun writing the article, co-authored with good friend and colleague Richard Nowakowski. We were inspired by Meyniel’s conjecture on the cop number, and we had excess energy from just having published our book The Game of Cops and Robbers on Graphs.… Read More Riemann hypothesis and other great conjectures in Mathematics