Retraining 15,000 teachers?

Philip Nye writes in a paper  Cameron needs to rethink maths and science plan (12 Dec 2014) that

Under No 10’s plan, 15,000 teachers of other subjects will also retrain as maths or physics teachers, as part of a “major push” to boost maths, science and technology skills.

However, Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham says: “It’s really easy to say ‘well, physics is science, so therefore there’ll be people teaching biology, or who have done medicine or engineering [degrees] that we can retrain as physics teachers’. But biology is really as different from physics as, say, history is.”

Perhaps the same skepticism can be applied to mathematics.

Mathematics Resilience – making it happen

The Shard Symposium

16th January 2015 10am – 4pm

Evidence is accruing that Mathematical Resilience is fundamental to developing a numerate, empower society. You are cordially invited to attend a symposium designed to explore the next steps to be taken in enabling learners to become Mathematically Resilient.

The symposium is convened to bring together practitioners, funders and researchers to discuss what is happening in enabling learners to develop Mathematical Resilience. It is a precursor to an international conference that will be held jointly by University of Warwick and Open University in November 2015.

The symposium will be held at the Warwick University Business School Offices in The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9SG, nearest underground station London Bridge.

A small charge of £20 is payable for registration, this will be made to cover refreshments throughout the day. You can register for the event here.

Hamid Naderi Yeganeh: Mathematical drawings made from segments

A cardioid

This figure is closely related to a cardioid.

This image shows 1,000 line segments. For each \(i=1,2,3,\cdots,1000\) the endpoints of the \(i\)-th line segment are:

\[\left(\cos\left(\frac{2\pi i}{1000}\right), \sin\left(\frac{2\pi i}{1000}\right)\right)\]

and
 
\[\left(\cos\left(\frac{4\pi i}{1000}\right), \sin\left(\frac{4\pi i}{1000}\right)\right).\]

4th International Conference on Tools for Teaching Logic

June 9-­12, 2015, Rennes, France; http://ttl2015.irisa.fr/

Call for Papers

Tools for Teaching Logic seeks for original papers with a clear significance in the following topics (but are not limited to): teaching logic in sciences and humanities; teaching logic at different levels of instruction (secondary education, university level, and postgraduate); didactic software; facing some difficulties concerning what to teach; international postgraduate programs; resources and challenges for e­Learning Logic; teaching Argumentation Theory, Critical Thinking and Informal Logic; teaching specific topics, such as Modal Logic, Algebraic Logic, Knowledge Representation, Model Theory, Philosophy of Logic, and others; dissemination of logic courseware and logic textbooks; teaching Logic Thinking.

* INSTRUCTIONS FOR AUTHORS

Submitted papers in PDF format should not be longer than 8 pages and must be submitted electronically using the EasyChair system. A demonstration is expected to accompany papers describing software tools. At least one author of each accepted paper must be registered and attend TTL 2015 to present the paper or the tool.

* PUBLICATIONS

All accepted papers will be published electronically in the LIPICS style by University of Rennes 1 with an ISBN (a USB key will be provided to the conference participants). After the conference, a special issue containing extended versions of the best accepted papers is going to be published in the IfCoLog Journal of Logics and their Applications.

* CONFERENCE FORMAT

Papers presentations will be presented in parallel sessions along the week. Half-a-­day slot will be dedicated to demo tools.

* IMPORTANT DATES

Paper submission: 30 January 2015;
Notification: 1 March 2015;
Final camera­ready due: 29 March 2015
Conference: 9­-12 June 2015

Alexander Grothendieck passed away

http://www.lemonde.fr/disparitions/article/2014/11/14/le-mathematicien-alexandre-grothendieck-est-mort_4523482_3382.html

Translation (from https://www.reddit.com/r/math/comments/2m82zw/reports_are_coming_in_of_the_death_of_alexandre/cm1wt6u):

Considered as the greatest mathematician of the 20th century, Alexander Grothendieck died, Thursday November 13, at Saint-Girons hospital, not far from Lasserre, the village where he secretly retired in the early 90s, cutting off all contact with the world. He was 86 years old. Stateless, naturalized French in 1971, known for the radicality of his pacifist and environmental activities, this singular and mythical mathematician leaves a considerable scientific legacy.

He was born on March 28, 1928, in Berlin, in an atypical family. Sascha Schapiro, his father, is a Jewish Russian, photographer and anarchist activist. Also very engaged, Hanka Grothendieck, his mother, is a journalist. In 1933, Sascha leaves Berlin for Paris, where he is soon joined by Hanka. Between 1934 and 1939, the couple leaves for Spain where it joins the Popular Front, while little Alexander is left in Germany to a family friend.

HIS FATHER DIES IN AUSCHWITZ

At the end of the Spanish Civil War, in the spring of 1939, Alexander meets his parents again in southern France. In October 1940, his father is taken prisoner in Vernet camp, which he leaves in 1942, for Auschwitz, where he will be assassinated. Alexander and his mother are taken elsewhere. “During my first year of high school, in 1940, I was imprisoned with my mother in Rieucros concentration camp, near Mende”, he says in Recoltes et Semailles, a monumental autobiographical text that was never published, but can be found on the Internet.

“It was war, and we were strangers – ‘undesirables’ as they said. But the camp administration closed one eye for boys, as undesirable as they were. We entered and left as we wanted. I was the eldest, and the only one to attend high school, four or five kilometers from there, regardless of whether there was snow or wind, with cheap shoes that were always soaked.

THE MYTH OF SCHWARTZ’S AND DIEUDONNÉ’S 14 PROBLEMS

In 1944, with his high school diploma, Alexander Grothendieck had not yet been identified as the genius he was. He enrolled in math at Montpellier University, and was recommended to Laurent Schwartz and Jean Dieudonné for his thesis.

History forged his myth: the two great mathematicians gave the young student a list of fourteen problems that they viewed as a wide work program for the coming years, and asked him to pick one. A few months later, Alexander Grothendieck came back to see his supervisors: he solved them all.

In this first period of mathematical production, Grothendieck worked on functional analysis, a field of analysis that studies function spaces. His work revolutionized the field, but remains less known than the one he will conduct in the second part of his career.

AN INSTITUTE FUNDED FOR HIM

In 1953, the young mathematician was quickly pressed to seek a job in academia. Stateless, he could not work in the public sector and, unwilling to serve in the military, he doesn’t want to seek french naturalization. He goes to teach in Sao Paulo (Brazil), in Lawrence (Kansas), and Chicago (U.S.)

Two years later, when he returned to France, a wealthy industrialist interested by mathematics, Léon Motchane, fascinated by the intuition and work power of the young man – Grothendieck was only 27 – decides to fund an exceptional research institute, based on the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study: l’Institut des Hautes études Scientifiques (IHES; Institue of high scientific studies), at Bures-sur-Yvette. The place was imagined as a home for the mathematician, who will begin a second career there.

A NEW GEOMETRY

Until 1970, surrounded by a multitude of international talent, he will lead his seminar on algebraic geometry, which will be published in the form of tens of thousands of pages. His new vision of geometry, inspired by his obsession of rethinking the notion of space, has shaken the very way to do mathematics. “The ideas of Alexander Grothendieck have, so to say, penetrated the subconscious of mathematicians”, says Pierre Deligne (Princeton Institute of Advanced Study), his most brilliant student, laureate of the Fields Medal in 1978 and the Abel Prize in 2013.

The notions he has introduced or developed remain today at the heart of geometrical algebra and are heavily studied. “He was unique in his way of thinking, says Mr. Deligne, very moved by the death of his ancient mentor. He had to understand things from the most general possible point of view, and once things were understood like this, the landscape became so clear proofs looked almost trivial.”

HE LEAVES THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY

In 1966, he receives the Fields medal, but refuses it for political reasons before going to Moscow to receive it. The radicality with which he will defend his convictions will never cease. He began drifting away from the scientific community at the end of the 1960s. In 1970, with two other mathematicians – Claude Chevalley and Pierre Samuel – he founded a group called Survive and Live, pacifist, ecologist, and very touched by the hippie movement. At the same time, he discovers that IHES is partially – albeit very marginally – funded by the Ministry of Defense. He leaves the institute.

The Collège de France offers him a temporary job, which he largely uses as a political platform. He leaves the Collège soon enough. In 1973, he becomes a professor at the University of Montpellier before going to the CNRS in 1984 until his retirement in 1988. The same year, he’s awarded the Crafoord prize, which comes with a big monetary award. He refuses the distinction. In 1990, he leaves his home for a secretive lair. Bitter, not on good terms with his friends, his family, the scientific community and science, he settles in a small Pyreneean village whose name he keeps secret. He will remain there, cut off from the world, until his death.

Film and discussion: “Colours of Math”

18 November 2014, , at Pushkin House.  From an advertisement:

The independent documentary “Colours of Math” (2012) by Ekaterina Eremenko – a German-based, American-trained, Russian-born documentary producer and mathematician – has been an unlikely runaway success.  It has been translated into 12 languages, and screened around the world.

With six mathematicians from different countries and six senses that lead them in their journey of discovery, the movie gives an insight into the mystery of abstract mathematical ideas and creative thinking.

The screening (60 min) is followed by a round table discussion. What is happening in contemporary mathematics? Are there particular national schools of thought and traditions of education? Prominent mathematicians will share their views on these questions.

Speakers:

Professor Sergey Foss, Heriot Watt University

Professor Leonid Parnovski, University College London

Professor Eugene Shargorodsky, Kings College London

Dr June Barrow-Green, Open University

Understanding Emotions in Mathematical Thinking and Learning

Call for book chapters on:

Understanding Emotions in Mathematical Thinking and Learning

To be published by Elsevier Academic Press, 2016

Editor: Ulises Xolocotzin (UNAM, Mexico)

The last 25 years have seen an increasing interest in the ways in which emotions might influence the learning, instruction, and practice of mathematics. The relevant research covers an ever-expanding breadth, reflecting the diversity of the academic and cultural backgrounds of those scholars who are actively studying the connections between mathematics and emotions.

There has been an important progress in understanding the interplay between emotions and mathematical activity. However, resources integrating the current state of knowledge are lacking and much needed. Researchers and students working in this subject are often unaware of the contributions made by colleagues in other fields, presumably because they publish in different journals and attend different conferences. This book will contribute to support the coordination of perspectives across disciplines.

This book aims to attract an international cadre of authors from different disciplines, in order to offer a comprehensive coverage of research concerning emotions and their relation to different aspects of learning, teaching, and practicing mathematics.

The chapters in this book will draw on the advances made by researchers from different fields, such as mathematics, education, mathematics education, cognitive psychology, educational psychology, neuroscience, learning sciences, affective sciences, as well as K-12 mathematics teachers. Readers can expect to see chapters based on diverse epistemological traditions and research methodologies, such as self-reports, interviews, ethnography, brain imaging, behavioral experiments, or automatic emotional expression analysis. However, the focus of the book will be to identify and highlight overarching theoretical concepts and methodological alternatives that might be relevant across disciplines.

The areas covered by the book include, but are not limited to:

Numerical cognition

• Emotions and number sense
• The influence of emotions in the processing of symbolic and non-symbolic representations of number
• Neuroscience perspectives on the relationship between emotions and numerical cognition

Mathematical activity

• The influence of emotions on mathematical activities such as calculation, problem solving, argumentation and probing
• The relationship between emotions and performance in specific mathematical domains such as arithmetic, algebra, or geometry.
• Positive emotions in relation to mathematics, e.g., interest, enjoyment, curiosity, wonder, or aesthetic experiences

Individual differences

• Emotional experiences of children with disabilities, individuals with mathematics difficulties, or high achievers in mathematics
• Recent advances in mathematics anxiety and performance under stress
• The influence of emotions in individuals’ attitudes and beliefs towards mathematics

Teaching and learning mathematics

• Mathematics teachers’ emotions and their influence in students’ learning
• Teachers’ understanding of their students’ emotions
• The emotions experienced whilst learning mathematics in the school and in informal settings
• The role of emotions in the use and design of mathematics learning technology

Social and cultural factors

• Cross-cultural studies on emotions and mathematics
• Emotional experiences related to mathematics amongst individuals in challenging social settings, for instance in contexts of political tension and immigration.
• Stereotype threat and performance in mathematics

Theoretical frameworks and methodologies

• Theoretical views integrating cognition and emotion in relation to mathematical activity
• Chapters addressing methodological issues in the study of the intersection between emotions and mathematics.

Website http://emotionsandmathematics.wordpress.com/

Submission procedure:

Those interested in submitting chapters on the above suggested topics or on other related topics in their particular area of interest should submit a 2-4 paragraphs manuscript proposal to emotionsandmathematics@gmail.com outlining the proposed chapter by January 16, 2015.

You will be notified about your proposal by January 30 2015.

Upon acceptance of your proposal, you will have until May 1st to prepare a chapter of 5000-8000 words.

Revised chapters due: July 1st 2015

Ulises Xolocotzin