Contact

Kerrie Brecheisen
Department of Math
785-864-3651

K-12 students to attend 'Mathematics, Magic and Mystery'

Fri, 04/04/2014

LAWRENCE – More than 200 elementary, junior high and high school students from area schools will be on the University of Kansas campus in April to participate in Mathematics Awareness Month activities.

Each year, the Department of Mathematics organizes competitions and workshops for the students. This year’s national theme is Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery.

The math competition will take place Saturday, April 5, in 406 Snow Hall. Prizes will be awarded to the top students in each category. The competition has three levels: third through fifth grades, middle school and high school.  

From magic squares and Möbius bands to magical card tricks and illusions, mysterious phenomena with elegant “Aha!” explanations have permeated mathematics for centuries. Such brain-teasing challenges promote creative and rational thinking, attract a wide range of people to the subject and often inspire serious mathematical research.

The theme of Mathematics Awareness Month 2014 echoes the title of a 1956 book by renowned author Martin Gardner, whose extensive writings introduced the public to hexaflexagons, polyominoes, John Conway’s “Game of Life,” Penrose tiles, the Mandelbrot set and more. For more than a half-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 his birth.

A workshop for fifth-graders from Auburn Washburn in Topeka and Broken Arrow and Hillcrest elementary schools, Lawrence, will demonstrate how math is used in everyday life. Workshops for those schools will be April 8, 9 and 16, respectively.

Along with activities and contests for schoolchildren, the math department also schedules a number of guest speakers throughout the month for the KU community. These talks are addressed to the general public.

The public is invited to participate in any of the activities. For more information on all of the Math Awareness 2014 events, contact Kerrie Brecheisen, administrative associate senior, Department of Mathematics, at (785) 864-3651 or by email



Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

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Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See http://bit.ly/1xjjwJj). For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See http://bit.ly/1BoL9jv) The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (http://bit.ly/14fiBPl), associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.


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