The Museum of Mathematics recently
opened in New York City. As stated on
the MOMATH website, "Mathematics
illuminates the patterns and structures all around us. Our dynamic exhibits and
programs will stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of
mathematics." What a GREAT idea! Sometimes great ideas succeed and, curiously,
sometimes they don't; it will be interesting to see how successful this new
venue is.
I learned of the Museum of Mathematics from a segment on CBS
Sunday Morning, a television program that covers a wide range of
topics. While Mo Rocca's presentation may,
at times, trivialize a particular subject, he usually does address something
meaningful. And, that's why I share this
blog entry: key elements of mathematics education are rooted in needs of the past
and change is needed!
MOMATH is the brainchild of Glen Whitney, who describes mathematics as an "Extremely varied
and beautiful landscape" but where our current educational process was designed
for rocket scientists that were in short supply 50 years ago. In other words, there are many facets to
mathematics but in most of our educational institutions we are given one path
from arithmetic to algebra to geometry to calculus. And should we falter anywhere along that
path, we tend to stop and move away from the subject.
It is not clear to me how MOMATH will
change mathematics education, but Whitney has not gone into this venture
blindly. He left a lucrative financial
career to pursue this endeavor and I would like to believe he has many more
ideas to continue his quest. Personally,
I wish him well, and perhaps there is some way that I can support this
effort.
I am easily inspired by mathematics. It is not because I am a
great mathematician, but because I have just enough experience to appreciate
great mathematicians; just enough experience to know how enlightening and
insightful mathematics can be and, ultimately, how beneficial applied
mathematics is to our daily lives.

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