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The math and science colloquium merges old techniques with modern technology

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The Mathematics and Science Colloquium, titled “If Euclid had an iPad,” explored how technology enhances the teaching process of ancient Greek and Arabic mathematics. It was held on Monday, Oct. 25.

“The colloquium is a great way for students to learn about aspects of mathematics and science that they would not normally learn in the classroom,” Dr. John Brown, department chair and associate professor of mathematics for Cabrini College, said.The Mathematics and Science Colloquium, titled “If Euclid had an iPad,” explored how technology enhances the teaching process of ancient Greek and Arabic mathematics. It was held on Monday, Oct. 25.

“The colloquium is a great way for students to learn about aspects of mathematics and science that they would not normally learn in the classroom,” Dr. John Brown, department chair and associate professor of mathematics for Cabrini College, said.

Robert McGee, professor emeritus of mathematics for Cabrini College, began the presentation by explaining that the findings of ancient Greek mathematicians are crucial to teaching mathematics. He argued that Euclid’s elements are used as a template for modern textbooks. For example, each of the elements follow a specific pattern of defining a term, forming a postulate and developing a proposition.

“I have always loved studying ancient Greek mathematics. This colloquium has allowed me to share my passion with students and colleagues,” McGee said.

Dr. Katie Acker, former assistant professor of mathematics for Cabrini College, described how technology allows students to discover numerous ways to find the solution to a math problem.

Acker explained that while teaching an online class for Teach for America she gave her students a one of the oldest math problems that could be solved using the quadratic-equation. However, instead of giving her students the equation she referred them to a website known as WebQuest.com that allowed her students to find several different ways to solve the problem.

“I love teaching with technology because it is improves my teaching technique. Technology is a way to bridge the generation gap between my students and myself,” Acker said.

Carol Serotta, associate professor of mathematics for Cabrini College, discussed Euclid’s study of perfect numbers and Marin Mersenne’s fascination with prime numbers. Serotta mentioned that Euclid found four perfect numbers. Currently, there are 47 known perfect numbers.

Mersenne is known as the “one man internet.” Serotta stated that there is a website dedicated to Mersenne’s work named the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, GIMPS.com, that offers cash incentives for individuals that find additional prime numbers.

Serotta explained that the study of prime numbers is valuable. For example, these numbers are used for writing quality control programs, computer hardware and security codes. The more prime numbers that exist the harder it is for security codes to be cracked.

“The research I did for the colloquium allowed me to learn and grow as a professor. I love the fact that a person can log-on to the internet and find other people that share similar interests, such as the GIMPS.com website,” Serotta said.

“I hope that students gain an appreciation for math. I want students to understand that math is useful in everyday occurrences,” Brown said.

Robert McGee, professor emeritus of mathematics for Cabrini College, began the presentation by explaining that the findings of ancient Greek mathematicians are crucial to teaching mathematics. He argued that Euclid’s elements are used as a template for modern textbooks. For example, each of the elements follow a specific pattern of defining a term, forming a postulate and developing a proposition.

“I have always loved studying ancient Greek mathematics. This colloquium has allowed me to share my passion with students and colleagues,” McGee said.

Dr. Katie Acker, former assistant professor of mathematics for Cabrini College, described how technology allows students to discover numerous ways to find the solution to a math problem.

Acker explained that while teaching an online class for Teach for America she gave her students a one of the oldest math problems that could be solved using the quadratic-equation. However, instead of giving her students the equation she referred them to a website known as WebQuest.com that allowed her students to find several different ways to solve the problem.

“I love teaching with technology because it is improves my teaching technique. Technology is a way to bridge the generation gap between my students and myself,” Acker said.

Carol Serotta, associate professor of mathematics for Cabrini College, discussed Euclid’s study of perfect numbers and Marin Mersenne’s fascination with prime numbers. Serotta mentioned that Euclid found four perfect numbers. Currently, there are 47 known perfect numbers.

Mersenne is known as the “one man internet.” Serotta stated that there is a website dedicated to Mersenne’s work named the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, GIMPS.com, that offers cash incentives for individuals that find additional prime numbers.

Serotta explained that the study of prime numbers is valuable. For example, these numbers are used for writing quality control programs, computer hardware and security codes. The more prime numbers that exist the harder it is for security codes to be cracked.

“The research I did for the colloquium allowed me to learn and grow as a professor. I love the fact that a person can log-on to the internet and find other people that share similar interests, such as the GIMPS.com website,” Serotta said.

“I hope that students gain an appreciation for math. I want students to understand that math is useful in everyday occurrences,” Brown said.

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