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Wofford to host summer program in exploratory mathematics

Escher
2009-04-22

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - This summer, Wofford College will host a new summer academic program for high-school-age students, "Connections and Intersections in Mathematics."

Students in the two-week program will examine a variety of math-related topics, introduced historically and in the context of mathematics in the liberal arts.

This new program will explore the math of art, music, philosophy, logic and other fields. Students will participate in activities ranging from the examination of famous puzzles and problems to the exploration of the mathematics behind the work of artist and designer M.C. Escher.

Rather than the traditional focus on rote learning, algebra and algorithmic problem-solving in mathematics, this program will explain the harmony and beauty of elements of math. While students will consider a variety of math problems, the program will not emphasize the completion of "problem sets." Instead, participants will work with each other and with faculty to appreciate math in new ways and in a broader context.

The program runs from July 19 through Aug. 1, and is open to rising eighth-graders through rising high-school juniors. All participants will receive a letter of recommendation from the course faculty.

"Wofford's goal is to offer creative intellectual experiences of the highest quality," says Tim Schmitz, director of summer programs and associate professor of history at Wofford. "‘Connections and Intersections' achieves this goal by permitting dynamic members of our faculty to share their own passions about mathematics with interested groups of young people."

The Connections faculty are Drs. Matt Cathey and Joseph Spivey. Both are assistant professors of mathematics at Wofford.

The program is open to a limited number of participants. Cost is $2,000, which includes accommodations, all meals, instruction, supervisory personnel, program materials, activities, professional evaluation, and certificates. The registration deadline is May 15. For more information and to register, go to http://connections.wofford.edu.

Connections and Intersections in Mathematics is one of three innovative summer programs being hosted at Wofford this year. The college is also hosting the second Shared Worlds, a creative writing and world-building experience, which also runs from July 19 to Aug. 1, and the Summer Institute for Professional Development for college juniors and senior, set for July 6 through Aug. 6. For more information about Shared Worlds, visit the Web site at http://sharedworlds.wofford.edu. For more information about the Institute for Professional Development, go to http://www.wofford.edu/institute/ or contact Jennifer Dillenger at dillengerja@wofford.edu.