IC16: Taking It To The Streets: The Value Of Large Public Math Demonstations

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IC16: Taking It To The Streets: The Value Of Large Public Math Demonstations
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Collaboration, coordination, construction, camaraderie, and community - these are not words the public typically associates with mathematics, but putting together large-scale public math demonstrations can literally change public perceptions of mathematics overnight. See how the MathHappening and Math Builds events orchestrated by the National Museum of Mathematics are creating a buzz around the US and providing a new sense of what mathematics is and can be.
Area Mathematics Mathematics Presentation of a group Multiplication sign Operator (mathematics) Coordinate system Right angle Rule of inference
Tetraeder Process (computing) Generating set of a group Mass Event horizon Graph coloring 1 (number) Mathematics Mathematics Many-sorted logic Different (Kate Ryan album) Tower Tower
Mathematics Parabolische Differentialgleichung Mathematics Loop (music) Radius Many-sorted logic Tube (container) Similarity (geometry) Graph coloring Mathematical structure
Mathematics Parabolische Differentialgleichung Building Mereology Multiplication
Mathematics Mathematics Loop (music) Ring (mathematics) Circle Event horizon Pentagon
Point (geometry) Mathematics Tensegrity <Tragwerk> Tensegrity <Tragwerk> Angle Different (Kate Ryan album) Tower Algebraic structure Special unitary group Numerical analysis
Decision tree learning Standard error Building Multiplication sign Basis <Mathematik> Event horizon Power (physics) Mathematics Proof theory Pythagorean theorem Mathematics Curvature Length of stay Square number Right angle Matrix (mathematics) Maß <Mathematik>
Many-sorted logic Generating set of a group Right angle Circle Student's t-test Mereology Event horizon Diameter
Average Calculation Circle Right angle Numerical analysis Diameter
Thermodynamisches System Average Moment (mathematics) Numerical analysis
Metre Area Building Projective plane Student's t-test Event horizon Numerical analysis Uniform boundedness principle Many-sorted logic Green's function Triangle Square number Right angle Spacetime
Mathematics Building Many-sorted logic Random walk Direction (geometry) Normal distribution 1 (number) Random walk Line (geometry) Mathematician Event horizon Family
Special unitary group
Fisher information Mathematics Ring (mathematics) Multiplication sign Matrix (mathematics) Open set Grothendieck topology 10 (number)
Mathematics Different (Kate Ryan album) Multiplication sign Projective plane Binary file Resultant
Many-sorted logic
Curvature Building Mereology Event horizon Numerical analysis
thank you all know in the area around the time of the theft and 1 of the things that we also like to do is get out of the museum and go find ways to work with the community so that's what this portion of the talk is about and so here we have some common perceptions of mathematics when you tell somebody you do math that we treat you work in a math museum these are the kinds of images that they're thinking about pencil and paper and chalkboards and rules and 1 right answer and arithmetical operations on them we don't see math that way and we would like to change perceptions I see that on my computer screen is bigger than yours Alice so we're losing a little bit here sorry about that but we like to think about the math as collaborative you requiring coordination creativity camaraderie and community and these are the images that we presented in our museum about mathematics and the 1 on the top right I must call out as Henry Siegman he's going to be presenting in the museum this October if anyone's in New York the other 3 images are all from other presentations we've had in New York so this is kind of what we want people to think when they think about mathematics that there's more to it than just black and white and so
some questions how can we convey the wonder of mapped to a general audience to the public and how can we help people get engaged with math and feel a sense of community in the process so a large public events we found can have a really great impact on public perceptions and more than that really create a sense of community and so we focus on 2 different kinds of math outreach in this way matched builds very similar to the Dome activity that we all did here yesterday en masse happenings whichare much shorter sort of flash mob type events that get people very engaged on and these events show matters creative collaborative colorful and and most of all fine and building a sense of community so our hope is that when people participate in these kinds of things these are memories that stay with kids for awhile stay with their parents for a while so just to show some images of for some of the bills we've done that's actually made out of mailing to so very cheap and just covered with colored paper and you can see out we started with the individually colored here and then build those into bigger tetrahedra
and then built those again and then 1 more generation and ended up with a giant tower on the streets of New York but we did a
similar thing with loops from a 1 of the difficult things when you do something like this is how do you make it stable and we tried all kinds of fasteners but we found out that medical adhesive tape was the only thing that really worked for us and so within of sort of wide radius of New York city you couldn't get any more medical tape that we can because we bought at all
from this is something we did it 1 of our fundraisers those are empty plastic tubes and then we got these sticks that glowing change color and so we built a very mathematical structure and then people came on their way from the court our dinner and they were able to insert these colored uh light sticks which you'll see we use a lot of because people really love them and this
would look like at the end and people could get inside and there were lots of pictures being taken and this is another building
kit that we designed and again you can see we like to build things big and people just really love to get inside something and take a picture and and really be part of the
math on another call out to here again we saw so we we traded we gave again a the ring of fire and he gave us a great idea for a using coat hangers to build pentagons and then turning those into dough Heeger and then we turned those into a giant sculpture that will you can see was raised high in the
sky another gala event this was focused on Apollonian circle packing and so we have a giant apollonian aperture what I don't show here is that after that event that came apart and we have these giant circles and we wondered what to do with them and so on Pi this year we went out to the park and we had a giant hoop hoping contest and people could actually loop with the 7 foot circles which was really quite something to see so this is a more
recent 1 we started playing around with tensegrity and these are just 3 different structures that were built of a couple of different conferences and and finally
this past June we celebrated the summer solstice in New York City by building up a number of stars and then building that into a big sculpture where the angle of the points of the stars was exactly the angle that the summer sun makes at the solstice in New York City so we tried it kind of include some man in
what we're doing so this was probably our biggest math happening events so now we're switching gears from building events to math happening in that so that's the flat iron building and you can see there's a giant image we had actually 3 giant projectors on 1 on each side of the building we projected a rearrangement proof of the Pythagorean theorem and we also had people around the base measuring the size we prove that it was a right angle which was found by people counting on our we did this in December of 2013 and I discovered that it takes giant Duracell batteries flaked we needed to build carts to drag these batteries over there and in the cold weather they last for 9 minutes so we use those to power giant projectors and we literally had 9 minutes and I was hoping there would be an error which there wasn't because there was no time to do it over and this got picked up all the way in Los Angeles and I just put that article there because I really love the headlines some squares some squares which is very clever
and couple more pictures from this that this was probably our most successful than ever by attendance we had between 2 and 3 thousand people show up on the basis of an e-mail so then we had to think of clever ways for everyone to be involved because we only need about 500 people go around the building so again we use the light sticks is the unit of measure and another thing
to know when you do these events is that they really attract a broad audience and we had people sort of decorate themselves grammatically so um if people like to get on that's part of what builds a sense of community but also note that you have you the young child here and the young lady and the 3 on the lower right are all senior citizens in the top right are a bunch of college students from a local college so to me the hallmark of a very successful then is 1 that brings many generations together with everybody participating some we followed that by
deciding to do something or what we call piety of the century again we had over a thousand people show up and what we did was we end up having to make 2 circles because there were too many people for just 1 but we measured in bytes sticks the diameter of the circumference of the circle
and then we measured with other people with light sticks in diameter we actually did a calculation and then we did it again with the
larger circle on the average the 2 and we were really hoping we would get something that started with a 3 on In fact we tried to really we tried to a planet that way by kind coloring the light sticks and having the exact right number of stick so it would have to work but course nothing has to work because people take sticks in the kidneys the bathroom or whatever so we we were
hoping to get something with a 3 and actually the average of the 2 is 3 . 1 3 so we were really excited that worked on your eyes have to be ready with these things for would you do if it doesn't work but in that case on worked and we
took it a little further we had a countdown to like the exact moment that we would get a 9 . 2 6 . 96 and we actually then had sort of like a account 10 to midnight and we had some kids holding up these giant light lit up numbers and everybody counted down and cheer just like it was new year's eve so that was extremely geeky environment and then everybody paraded back from this large gym over to the museum where we had for everyone like the kind you can eat and that was
such a good idea that the following year we realize there was another Pythagorean triple on August 17 and 1 of our interns looked around and found that there was a building in Seattle call the triangle pub that was exactly 8 meters by 50 meters by 17 meters so we thought we would do this again in Seattle turns out you can't really go around that public sort of against another building and also in between 2 highways so we made a projection as sort of a top down view and we printed on vinyl and we found a nice open space outside the museum of history in industry and we had people go around it and in this case what we did was we had we decided to make squares on each side but out of grids of people and so we had a 64 people in green shirts and 15 squared people in some Lucia which you can see in some of
these next pictures so there's the the blue people on 1 side and then the green people on the other people of T-shirts if you can find a sponsor for T-shirts come and again you'll see we had a young and old alike and people decorated themselves and got really into it college students kids arms and even senior citizens again so that was another hit I'm I will tell you 1 thing that you don't see there are all the Red Shirts we had so the original idea was then to have also the giant C squared with people in red shirts and then to show by sort of people matching up in marching around that that they were the same number of blue + screenshots as red shirts but we were kind of watching carefully it Seattle it's not a home base we weren't sure how many people we get and so I want to make the call that I don't think we're getting enough that red shirts and so we have a plan B. which was we don't tell anybody that there red shirts reading give out any red shirts and after they lined up on either side of the triangle we then had the red and the blue people move to the 3rd side and count off again and show that in fact there was the the right number of people 17 squared if you think that spot on August 15th 2017 is coming up next year and we're going to go back and do it bigger and better in Seattle the whole week of events so if anybody's in the Seattle area or wants to be
let me know this past december we celebrated the winter solstice by creating a giant star that's the
view from the top of the flat iron and a close up of the star that people created and we were able to find a way to broadcast it so people could see on their phones from above as they were participating and so lots of people were tweeting that around and we made a nice video out of it which I'll show a little bit of
random walk this was a great event where we got people to stand in 1 line shoulder-to-shoulder and then they flip a coin a world I and a step forward or back based on whether they get our even and we actually again had a camera up high and show that more or less we got a normal curve and people have a lot of fun with that mom and so now it's sort of
reflect about these things what what all these events have in common that that make them work and I think the commonality is finding a way to bring some after people that's not too hard to understand and it's fun to participate in and you can participate with your family it's not just for adults it's not just for kids it's not just for mathematicians and not even just for people who love math but for everyone the most successful ones I think are the ones that are shorter than the building events that notwithstanding the dome which I saw 1 operate quickly but most of our building events take all day in your eyes get a few people who stay with you all day but most people come to build a little then leave so the shorter math happening events I think are more successful because they're over in less than an hour and people can come and have this great experience in and then move on I'm and also keeping it simple turns out to be really important because when you have a thousand people it's really hard to convey any kind of complicated direction you kind of want everybody to know when they get there what they're doing but it's pretty easy to replicate some of these events so if anybody wants to try and do this at their own like triangular building in their own city let me know on lessons learned to just be ready for what you do if something goes wrong like when we had the red shirts but we can take them out so nobody who was at that event I knew that there had been a different plants you kind of why just keep things going on the goals I think were to get people talking about math and feeling happy and excited about math and I think we did that and I think it is a viable method might think lots of other countries to more of this the UK in particular I know and Ireland has a whole week and that sort of thing so where I think the US were just catching up so what I
want to show you now just briefly there are a couple of quick videos if we can make that work so since this was our most successful then I'll start with that but that's the we can make that folks who China has come false you now this is In the 0 yes I see OK
and I'm not sure of this he turned off the scent well understood that you might and the the better everything for
don't you think was hosts who all right I want to use a illiteracy around not and now we Kronecker and uh it so that was a quick little video and I'll close by just showing you done to other sites now let's see so um yeah OK so the matrix conferences very similar I think to the conference that was mentioned in Australia earlier but this is happening this September and Margaret Brown is here were collaborating with the University of Leeds and maths world UK and so if you don't know about this conference please come and talk to me a Margaret it's all about math out reaches for people they're trying to open math museums that already run math museums that do math outreach and again and it's a way for people to get together and share some of the things that they've learned the things they're doing and this is the 2nd matrix conference I know I left with a lot of things a lot of new information from the 1st 1 that we've been able to use and know again left with a ring of fire last time so good things come out of this and 1 last thing I wanna mention is I'm I'm also working with a group of
people that are putting on something called global math week if those of you have heard of it or no James 10 it's going to be October 10th
2017 and the goal is to engage a million people during that week with doing some kind of fun and engaging mathematics so laughter different projects we more math evolve with and if anyone has questions about any of them let me know if you have questions about the kid or about anything that we talked about now Alice can come back up and we can answer questions if there's time for questions we may be out of time thank you
have that was amazing where a little behind time but maybe we have time for a quick question what and how the list is there so that the local news because the get so many people in bins and communicating results we do 2 things mostly
we have an e-mail list and then it is something is exciting it spread so we got 3 thousand people because people were excited about this Pythagoras the fire and
then we also have a PR firm that tries to get newspapers interested in writing about us we actually don't spend any money on advertising which maybe is a mistake maybe we have 5 thousand people if we did but so far we've been sort of pretty low budget about
it so it is it's a matter of having something engaging and then hoping that people pass on and and or just want the question is that it for sale is where the keep to the is the kit for sale we could easily make another kid sell it yes I don't know that we know we might even be able believe this 1 else would have more room her suitcase so maybe talk to us
OK and there's more but yeah so
with the the number of people for with and it's quite a lot would to say that most of them have been to the museum before and so the no no no in fact 1 of our best volunteers in the museum has been showing up to a lot of events lately and I asked her how had you hear about the museum anyway you know how did you come to become 1 of our best volunteers and she said there was that Pythagoras at before the flat iron building and I never heard you guys before but that sounded like a really great about so I know it's not mostly people that have been to the museum it's just people that you know it's New York City here about something cool anyone be part of it thank you very much but let's bind the speaker's again