"We are excited about our next several meetups. One will explore the culture of mathematics, one will explore the history of statistics, and several will get into the nitty gritty practice of doing real mathematics (number theory to be specific). All should be fun! But each will require some preparation on your part. So we wanted to let you know what's involved early so you can schedule time to read a paper and a book and work on some challenging problems.
Note we open RSVPs for our events three weeks ahead. So you cannot yet RSVP for most of these events. We prepare the event descriptions early so you can plan your time to prepare for the topics you are interested in.
I wanted to highlight three events in order of more to less preparatory work needed. Check our web page http://www.meetup.com/MathCounts/ for a chronological listing of forthcoming topics.
First, we have a book topic for Saturday July 9th. The book is The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century by David Salsburg. Is it a well written account of the history of modern statistics. But at 352 pages, it will take some time to get through. The book has no formulas, so it will be easy reading compared with most math books. Look for it at a library or bookstore now so you have time to finish reading it by July 9th. There is a lot of good mathematics in the book but it is told from a high-level point of view. Sam is planning to supplement it by exploring a few formulas and techniques in more depth to help satisfy our itch for mathematical details. The main thrust of the event will be a discussion of the history of modern statistics.For the full event description on Statistics and The Lady Tasting Tea, please visit http://www.meetup.com/MathCounts/events/231456913/
Second, there will be a three part series on Chapter 4 "Induction in the Theory of Numbers" in George Pólya's 1954 book "Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning: Induction and Analogy in Mathematics". That book is free to read on-line. This short chapter (only 15 pages) is filled with formulas and variables and tables to explore its example problems. We have split the text and the 26 example problems into three events so that you will have some time to invest in really delving into each problem. The brilliance of this book is how Pólya helps us practice the doing of mathematics with challenging problems that though elementary (nothing more difficult than raising an integer to a power of two) are by no means easy. It is expected that even the sharpest participants will need to work for several hours on the problems over several days of concerted effort to fully solve all of them.
But you don't need to solve any of them to participate! All we ask is that you spend an hour or two on each. Then come join us and we'll crowdsource filling in the gaps and helping to make sure everyone understands the material. Collaborative mathematics: it's a great way to practice, learn, and discuss mathematics. It's what we do!
Here are the three event descriptions on Pólya & Number Theory:
- September 24: http://www.meetup.com/MathCounts/events/231554138/
Finally, our next event will discuss an exquisite and very readable 17 page paper by William P. Thurston: "On Proof and Progress in Mathematics". Thurston's famous "geometrization conjecture" (no, I don't know what that means either) led to the solving of the Poincaré conjecture, one of the $1,000,000 math problems. His paper provides a high class response to criticism of his geometrization conjecture wherein he examines the nature of the mathematical enterprise, explores the nature of mathematics itself, outlines some of the key tools and skills of mathematical thinking, looks at the motivation to do mathematics, and critiques the nature of proof and mathematical communication. The paper is extraordinary and I look forward to discussing it with you on June 25th.
See the full event description on Thurston's paper: http://www.meetup.com/MathCounts/events/231394480/"