Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Texas A&M University is taking its annual spring celebration of mathematics and statistics virtual for 2021, gearing up to host its 18th annual Texas A&M Mathematics and Statistics Fair on Saturday, February 27, beginning at 9 a.m. via Zoom.
For the fifth consecutive year, the longstanding event will feature the inclusion of statistics in keeping with April’s more broadly focused Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month, says Texas A&M mathematician and event coordinator Dr. Tamara Carter. Co-hosted by the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics and the Texas A&M Department of Statistics, the Math and Stat Fair is the traditional highlight of an expanded series of spring outreach events designed to increase public understanding of and appreciation for both disciplines.
Free and open to all ages, the fair that helps put the fun in fundamental will feature mentored problem-solving, games, mathematical arts and crafts, puzzles and other activities, in addition to two lectures by Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Mathematician in Residence James Tanton.
“Mathematics and statistics are extremely valuable in many careers and various aspects of everyday life, but they are also FUN,” Carter said. “We are very excited to share that fun with guests of all ages and are looking forward to transitioning our fair to an online format.”
As in years past, Carter notes that participants will be able to solve problem sets, which they will be able to access online prior to the fair along with a list of activities, Zoom links and recommended household supplies for use during the day’s arts and crafts. While the 2021 fair won’t involve the traditional prize raffle nor tickets awarded for each solution or completed project, Carter says it will remain consistent with the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival format adopted by Texas A&M since 2016, from general structure to virtual activities.
From 11 a.m. to noon, Tanton will present a public lecture, “Weird English and Weird Numbers,” followed by a second advanced lecture, “How to Fold Things Into Thirds, Sevenths and Thirty-Sevenths!” set for 1 to 3 p.m.
Sponsored by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM), Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month began in 1986 when then-United States President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation establishing National Mathematics Awareness Week. Activities 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.
The JPBM is a collaborative effort of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).
To learn more about Texas A&M Mathematics, visit https://www.math.tamu.edu/.
For more information about Texas A&M Statistics, go to https://www.stat.tamu.edu/.