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MAA Math Alert - October 2008

News and Views

U.S. Culture Discourages Girls From Excelling at Math
A paper titled "Cross-Cultural Analysis of Students with Exceptional Talent in Mathematical Problem Solving," published in the November Notices of the American Mathematical Society suggests many girls possess a high aptitude for mathematics, a new study concludes, but few girls in the United States reach the highest levels of mathematical attainment, and that the nation urgently needs to improve how it identifies and nurtures such gifted children so that this pool of exceptional talent is not wasted. Read More

Who Says Mathematicians Aren’t Fashionable?
Readers of a fashion spread in the September 21 issue of The New York Times Magazine might have come across a striking photo of Franklin and Marshall College mathematics professor Annalisa Crannell in a Proenza Schouler coat, Dries Van Noten dress, and Marni belt. Read More


Strategic Planning of Teaching in STEM Majors
From David Bressoud, President-Elect of the MAA
The MAA is engaged in strategic planning around issues of teaching in support of all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors. We are asking all members to respond to a very brief survey to help us identify the most important aspects of this issue to themselves and—as appropriate—to their departments, gauge the usefulness of existing MAA materials and programs, and identify how we can position these materials and programs so that they are more useful. Please take the survey here. For more information, read the October Launchings column.

MAA Mathematical Study Tour to Egypt
Travel with the MAA on its 7th Annual Mathematical Study Tour from May 20 - June 1, 2009. Learn More

Applications for the Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize of the AWM due November 1
The Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize of the AWM is awarded annually to a woman recently promoted to Associate Professor or an equivalent position in the mathematical sciences. The prize provides a fellowship for the awardee to spend a semester in the Mathematics Department ofCornell University without teaching obligations. Learn More

National Science Foundation: Call for Proposals on Theory and Applications of Dynamical Systems Applications
The Dynamical Systems program in the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation is encouraging the submission of unsolicited research proposals to the CMMI Dynamical Systems program and the DMS Applied Mathematics program. Learn More

2009 Renewals
As you may be aware, the MAA upgraded to a new Membership Database System this summer and our renewal processing has fallen a bit behind schedule. If you have already mailed in your renewal payment, please realize that you might receive another renewal mailing if your payment has yet to be processed. There is no need to send another renewal form. We hope to catch up on our processing in the near future. Thank you for your patience.

Featured Articles

The Mathematical Tourist - Improved Pancake Sorting
The classic mathematical problem of pancake sorting has been around since 1975. Now, a team of computer science students has made the first improvement in nearly 30 years in one theoretical limit on solving the problem. Read More

LOCI - Generalized Baseball Curves: Three Symmetries and You're In!
Several authors have tried to give equations describing the curve traced out on the surface of a baseball by its seam. Taking an alternative approach, this article identifies several symmetry properties that any reasonable candidate for a baseball curve must have and calls these symmetries “generalized baseball curves.” Read More

Science and Technology Policy in the 2008 Presidential Election (AAAS)

New From the MAA

A Guide to Complex Variables
This book gives the reader an accessible introduction and a solid grounding in the fundamental area of complex variables. Many figures and examples illustrate the principal ideas, and the exposition is lively and inviting. Buy This Book

Fall/Winter 2008 MAA Book Catalog

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

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.

In Memoriam

Marcia P. Sward (1939-2008)

Kenneth Hoffman (1930-2008)

Publishing Date: 
October, 2008