Project 3: What is a Mathematician?     (Presentation)

  • Step 1 Your PowerPoint presentations on influences, barriers, support, diversity issues and mathematical style.
  • Step 2 Dr. Sarah will go over mathematics related to your mathematicians, along with select activities. Sometime there will be pre-readings that the entire class will complete for homework to help with the activities.
  • In this segment we will examine the way that mathematicians do research and the kind of problems that they work on. You should try and relate this to the way that you do mathematics, and you should also continue to think about what mathematics is, and the useful problem solving techniques and applications that arise from its study. We will highlight the validity of diverse styles and diverse mathematical strengths and weaknesses. We will see that there are lots of different ways that people are successful in mathematics. We will also examine the changing roles of women and minority mathematicians over time. I have worked hard to accumulate good web and print references for you.

    7 - 10 minute PowerPoint Presentation

    Prepare a PowerPoint presentation by using the attached checklist. The presentation computer file (whatever.ppt) must be sent to Dr. Sarah as an attachment on WebCT before 3pm for a Monday presentation and 10:30am for a Tues/Thur presentation. She will respond to you there to acknowledge receipt. It is your responsibility to make sure that this is received by Dr. Sarah and runs correctly. Do not expect to load your presentation from a disk - the computer does not have a disk drive - but do also have the presentation backed up on disk so that you could send it from school if necessary. Be sure to follow the presentation checklist and to prepare great presentations! Oral presentations my be summed up as follows: "Tell them what you're going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them". Don't be scared of this repetition. Sometimes repetition is the only way to clarify misconceptions. Naturally, this means that you should repeat things in different ways, and not quote yourself verbatim.
    Group Work Group work on projects will be self-evaluated and these evaluations will be taken into account in the determination of the final grade. So, your job is to make sure that you do your part to make sure you are working in a group effectively. Inequalities in group work WILL be addressed.

    Grading Checklist: Does the Powerpoint Presentation:
    1. start on time?
    2. flow smoothly?
    3. include enough eye contact with the audience?
    4. look professional?
    5. last between 7-10 minutes total?
    6. make effective use of PowerPoint?
    7. contain enough writing on the board and/or computer?
    8. have everything that is written/typed also orally communicated?
    9. contain only correct historical facts that relate to the themes below? (Do NOT create a biography).
    10. contain at least one picture of the mathematician (except for Fuller)?
    11. include quotes by the mathematician, when possible, which are put into context by the presenter?

      Influences, Support, Barriers and Diversity (Broadly Defined) Issues
    12. address the issue of influences that led them to becoming a mathematician, by answering some (or all, if possible) of the following:
      What influences led them to becoming a mathematician?
      Did they have support from family and society?
      Why did they become a mathematician?
      What kind of barriers did they face while becoming a mathematician?
    13. deeply explore this issue?
    14. address gender, racial, multicultural/ethnic, diversity (broadly defined) issues in this mathematician's experiences?
      Be sure to also address whether they are married and have a family, and whether their spouse or partner is also a mathematician or scientist.
      If your mathematician is a white man with no apparent diversity issues, be sure to address whether they have mentored women or other traditional minorities in mathematics.
    15. deeply explore this issue?

      Mathematical Style
    16. address this issue by answering as many of the following as possible?
      How do they describe the process of doing mathematics and/or mathematical research?
      How do they get the flashes of insight that they need to do research?
      How do their mathematical minds work? Do they have a photographic memory? Are they really good with numbers? Are they good at visualization?
      Does the mathematician often collaborate (ie write papers with other mathematicians) or instead mostly work by themselves?
      How do they describe what mathematics is and/or where it comes from?
    17. deeply explore this issue?

    Thomas Fuller (1710-1790)
    Maria Agnesi (1718-1799)
    Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855)
    Sophie Germain (1776-1831)
    Georg Cantor (1845-1918)
    Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920)
    Paul Erdos (1913-1996)
    David Blackwell (1919-)
    Evelyn Boyd Granville (1924-)
    Mary Ellen Rudin (1924-)
    Fern Hunt (194?-)
    Frank Morgan (195?-)
    Ingrid Daubechies (1954-)