Beware of the dragons lurking in the Library

Image: Two paper dragons on top of a bookshelf. The dragon is the creation of Martin Gardner, a famous mathematician. The displays were researched and chosen by MCC’s Integrated Math students.

Fort Morgan, CO. 04/15/14. Beware of the dragons lurking in the Library!

Morgan Community College (MCC) is participating in Math Awareness Month (MAM) through the month of April with an exhibit in the Learning Resource Center at the Fort Morgan campus. The display features magic squares and Möbius bands, as well as brain teasers and illusions.

According to program sponsors, “Such brain-teasing challenges promote creative and rational thinking, attract a wide range of people to the subject, and often inspire serious mathematical research.” MAM is sponsored by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics, which has selected “Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery” as the theme for MAM 2014.

This year’s theme echoes the title of a 1956 book by renowned math popularizer Martin Gardner, whose extensive writings introduced the public to hexaflexagons, polyominoes, John Conway’s “Game of Life,” Penrose tiles, the Mandelbrot set, and much more. For more than half a century Gardner inspired enthusiasts of all ages to engage deeply with mathematics, and many of his readers chose to pursue it as a career. The year 2014 marks the centennial of Gardner’s birth.

Mathematics Awareness Month, held each year in April, was created to increase public understanding of and appreciation for mathematics. It began in 1986, when President Reagan issued a proclamation establishing National Mathematics Awareness Week. Activities for Mathematics Awareness Month generally are organized on local, state and regional levels by college and university departments, institutional public information offices, student groups, and related associations and interest groups.

At www.mathaware.org, you can find activities, related resources, and how to order the theme poster.

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