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MAA Math Alert - September 2008

News and Views

Martin Golubitsky on Patterns, Symmetry, and Motion
In our first use of video in a story, you can see highlights from Martin Golubitsky's lecture, “Patterns Patterns Everywhere,” delivered at the Carriage House on August 21. Read More

MAA Video
The MAA plans to post video clips from Carriage House Lectures and other events on its new YouTube channel. We welcome your suggestions on ways to use this new feature. Contact us at

MAA NumberADay
Every workday, MAA’s new NumberADay blog spotlights a different number and some of its interesting properties. Your comments, suggestions, and additions are welcome.

MAA MinuteMath
Exercise your mind each day with a new problem selected from the American Mathematics Competition's bank of contest problems.

Algebra Debate Rages in California
Last July, California's Board of Education decided that by the time the state's students are in the eighth grade, they had better know the x's and y's of algebra. The reactions to this decision have been decidedly mixed. Read More

College Calculus: What We Don’t Know
From David Bressoud, President-Elect of the MAA
I need your help. The MAA is putting together a proposal to NSF to fund a large-scale study of first-semester college calculus to be conducted during the 2010–11 academic year. The purpose is to determine what factors within the context of calculus contribute to attracting students to mathematics, encourage their persistence through calculus, and ensure that they have the mathematical preparation needed for their intended major. We are seeking to involve as many two- and four-year colleges and universities in this study as we can. In determining whether or not such a study will be feasible, we need a sense of how many individuals and departments might be interested in participating. Please take a moment to log onto to let us know how important such a study would be to you and to indicate your level of willingness to participate in this study. You can find more information aboutthe study, what it entails and why are doing it, in this month’s Launchings column.

Featured Articles

LOCI - Mathematical Brooding over an Egg
Dynamic geometry software brings algebra and geometry to life. André Heck discusses how mathematical techniques, digital images, and such software can be used to model the shape of an egg. Read More

How Euler Did It by Ed Sandifer: PDEs of Fluids
For his whole life Euler was interested in fluids and fluid mechanics, especially their applications to shipbuilding and navigation. It’s possible to summarize Euler's contribution to the subject by saying that he extended the principles described by Archimedes in On floating bodies from statics to dynamics, using calculus and partial differential equations. Read More

New From the MAA

Proof and Other Dilemmas: Mathematics and Philosophy
Sixteen original essays provide a sampler of current topics in the philosophy of mathematics, from the nature of mathematical objects (How can one tell when one mathematical object is really the same as another?) to the boundaries between mathematics and other disciplines (What does one relegate to "applied" mathematics?). Buy this Book

Membership Renewal
2009 Membership renewals have been mailed. If you have not yet received yours, it should arrive in your mailbox very soon.

Publishing Date: 
September, 2008