October 6, 2011
WOOSTER, Ohio — From slot machines to gaming parlors, American inventors have led the way in using the mathematics of chance to entertain and mystify audiences. Prominent mathematician Ivars Peterson will discuss this phenomenon when he returns to The College of Wooster to present “American Ingenuity: Harnessing Randomness for Profit” on Tuesday, Oct. 25. Peterson’s lecture, which is free an open to the public, begins at 11 a.m. in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.).
Peterson is the director of publications and communications at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), an independent non-profit organization dedicated to providing vital resources for mathematicians and helping to further their careers in the field. Prior to his position with the MAA, Peterson spent 25 years as a writer at Science News.
A graduate of the University of Toronto, where he earned degrees in physics and chemistry as well as education, Peterson taught high school science and mathematics for eight years before leaving the teaching profession to pursue a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. He also served as editor of Science News for Kids and Science News Online. In addition, he wrote the weekly online column, titled “Ivars Peterson's MathTrek” and wrote a column about math for the children’s magazine Muse.
Peterson’s books include The Mathematical Tourist: Snapshots of Modern Mathematics; Islands of Truth: A Mathematical Mystery Cruise; Newton’s Clock: Chaos in the Solar System; Fatal Defect: Chasing Killer Computer Bugs; The Jungles of Randomness: A Mathematical Safari; and several others. In addition, Peterson and his wife, Nancy Henderson, collaborated on two books introducing selected topics in contemporary mathematics to children of middle-school age: Math Trek: Adventures in the MathZone and Math Trek 2: A Mathematical Space Odyssey.
Honors for his work in the field include the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics Communications Award, which recognized his "exceptional ability and sustained effort in communicating mathematics to a general audience." He also served as the Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric, and Science at East Tennessee State University, where he taught a course on communicating mathematics.
Peterson’s presentation, which is co-sponsored by Wooster’s Department of Mathematics, is an associated event in Wooster’s Forum series. Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2478) or e-mail.
- Written by Libby Fackler
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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