Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hard Problems at MSRI

I am here at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute for the northern California premier of Hard Problems, a documentary about the Math Olympiad.

Quotes from the movie I thought were particularly good

  1.  The subject of math rather than just the random facts I was taught in school
  2.  Math is more of exploration than knowledge
  3.  You cant really do math emotionally, that doesn't make sense.
  4.  Math doesn't have to be straight out of the book,
  5. For a really cool problem you can explain how its really cool without having to get in the gritty details, I think math is like that it speaks for itself its very beautiful.
  6. I have a little bit of a distaste for schools.
  7. I have this theory that the smarter a mathematician is the better a mathematician is, the less they like to work.... I don't know if its true, I haven't asked enough mathematicians
  8. I don't do mathematics because its mathematics. I do it because of the astounding connections and creativity it allows (ending line, one I think that is very incisive about the nature of mathematics
And now, onto the Q&A panel.
7:05  Two interesting threads, the moderator brings up, the one about what the IMO is and questions about the IMO and then also about how to bring more people into the IMO and increase higher mathematics training, however, the question i find interesting, and want to hear about, is instead how we can take the lessons gained from the higher level math education to get better math education around the board not just for those kids gifted with math talent, but to increase math education overall.

7:15 Zvezdelina Sankova puts on an interesting presentation about the Berkeley math circle, it seems like a great way to teach math, why don't we adapt a math circle setup to teach math to all children?

7: 20 Melanie makes a great point on how most of the students who do the IMO have seen some exciting math whereas moth high school students have not seen any interesting math.

7:25 Competition aspect is an important hook. "competitions were the venue in which I learned that there was interesting math"

7:40 Guy behind me comments on how the math circles helped him teach and make better, Zvezdelina makes a point about how the BMC was supposed to me a trail program, and that the allocation of resources is making it happen at colleges and universities, not schools.

7:50 some douchebag in the back asks 4 annoying questions, I hope he dies in a fire.

7:50 Ryan makes a good point about how people are not exposed to interesting math problems.

7:55 I get a question in on the first quote in the list, Zevezdelina talks about how the math circle gives the problem first then develops the tools to solve it rather than just give students the tools of mathematics with no context rhyme or reason.

ill distill this into some final thoughts when I get home.

No comments: