Pi Day Thursday and the March Break Math Camp

Today is Pi Day, and as part of the March Break Math Camp that the department is running the students are celebrating this fascinating and mysterious number with activities, investigations and, of course, pie.  Apple pie to be exact.  We’ve even been featured in a Toronto Star article about the day.

The March Break Math Camp, open to students in Grades 4 – 10, has seen 57 students participate in a week of hands-on, interactive activities designed to introduce and excite them about the various fields of mathematics.  From number theory to geometry to building geodesic domes and optimizations.   The camp has also drawn from a partnership with the Canadian Math Kangaroo Competition to provide students with competition based problems and content.  Today they celebrate Pi with discussions of circles and the fascinating number ratio itself.

In addition, the camp will see guest speakers from the Department of Mathematics give talks to students on optimization, Mobius strips, origami and math, the board game Blockus and how Google works.

Grade 9/10 students building Geodesic Domes

Grade 7/8 students built circles from string, meter sticks and math!

Math Mentorship Underway

On January 31st the Department of Mathematics welcomed 18 Grade 11 and 12 students to participate in a Mentorship program with our Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

So far the topics covered have been far ranging and of various interests.  A sampling of topics:

• Optimal Transport
• Topics in abstract algebra starting with some basic groups and rings theory building to some notions of geometry (e.g., projective spaces and affine varieties over complex numbers) with the ultimate goal to learn the intuition behind blowing-up and resolution of singularities, and producing graphs or animations of simple resolutions of curve singularities
• Issues in the foundations of mathematics such as the difference between countable and uncountable sets, and “constructing” most of the basic mathematical objects (the integers, rational numbers, real numbers, complex numbers) starting from just the empty set
• Number theory starting from the basics of congruences, Little Fermat Theorem, Euler function, Integer points inside polygons and ellipses and some other relatively elementary theorems
• Calculus of Young tableaux with applications to combinatorics and symmetric polynomials

… and much more.

We are looking forward to seeing their poster presentations in April on the fascinating mathematics they have learned.

Department Highlighted in Fields Notes

For it’s involvement in the Mathematics Pavilion at this year’s Science Rendezvous the department received a nod and a two page spread of photos from this year’s event.

For the past three years the Math department has had an ever growing pavilion at Science Rendezvous.  This near exponential growth has been in good part due to the efforts of the Fields Institute and their generous usage of space and resources.  This year’s event saw over 300 visitors and allowed them to freely tour the Fields Institute and be up close and personal with a wide variety of math activities and personel.

We look forward to next year’s event and the continued growth of this wonderful pavilion.

Science Rendezvous

The Department of Mathematics will be participating in the 3rd annual Science Rendezvous this Saturday, May 8th from 11 am – 5 pm.  The event is a celebration of science and follows a festival format to bring science education and UofT research to the general public.  More information on the event can be found at http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca/uoft/ .

News @ The University of Toronto recently wrote an article on the event as well.

The event is free and open to all members of the public.

Math Marathon

Congratulations to members of the math department for their participation in the 2009 Toronto Marathon.

The Math Relay Team consisted of seven (7) graduate students and one faculty member and was named “Mathletes IV”. This is the 3rd time the math department has entered a relay team into the race. In 2006, there were 2 teams, which placed 29th (Mathlete I) and 23rd (Mathletes II). Last year the team (Mathletes III) placed 13th and this year (Mathletes IV) placed 3rd out of over 200 teams.

The team members (in order of their legs of the race) were:

1. Elio Mazzeo
2. Peter Lee
3. Marco Gualtieri
4. Steven Corkey
5. Matt Rideout
6. Geordie Richards
7. Artem Dudko
8. Alex Bloemendal

The total length of the course is 42 km meaning seven of the runners ran 5km and one ran 7km.  The goal of the team was to place in the top 10!

Mission accomplished!

The total time for the course from the team was 3 hours, 9 minutes and 9 seconds.

The marathon raises funds for various charities, including Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto General Hospital, Diabetes Canada, and Sick Kids.

Congratulations on a job well done!