Five new mathematical perspectives courses begin in spring

Courses focus on women, creative strategy, dimensionality, knots | December 19, 2003

Beginning with the winter 2004 semester, Xavier students are able to enroll in new math courses with such titles as Women in Mathematics, Visual Mathematics and The Fourth Dimension.

The courses, five in all, are grouped under the heading of mathematical perspectives. The new category of classes is aimed at teaching how math is used in a variety of other disciplines, such as business, psychology, sociology and other sciences. They also are designed to help students learn how mathematicians think.

“In these themed courses, we hope students will get a glimpse of the power and beauty of our discipline,” says James Snodgrass III, chair of the department of mathematics and computer science. “The sections of mathematical perspectives will expose students to ideas that are very much out of the ordinary for core level mathematics courses. In many cases these ideas are the ones that inspired us to become mathematicians and continue to inspire our pursuit of mathematics.”

The Women in Mathematics course is focusing on work done by female mathematicians in a variety of fields, including number theory, algebra, analysis, geometry, and South African design.

The Strategies class is outlining models of human interaction in situations of conflict and cooperation, including the concepts of game theory, utility theory and measurements of voting power.

The Creativity class teaches students to view mathematics as an art rather than a science, and involves reading and discussion that explores the creative side of mathematical thinking.

The Fourth Dimension is exploring the differences and similarities between two-, three- and four-dimensional worlds.

And the fifth new course, Visual Math, is an overview of knots, graphs and surfaces, and the interconnections between the three.

For more information, contact Snodgrass at 513 745-4907.