Fwd: MAW 1996 Announcement

Pat Rogers (progers@EDU.YorkU.CA)
Thu, 14 Dec 95 01:46:15 -0500

Announcing MATHEMATICS AWARENESS WEEK 1996, April 21-27
Mathematics and Decision Making.

The Joint Policy Board for Mathematics invites you to join in the
celebration of the breadth and depth of mathematics during
Mathematics Awareness Week, April 21-27, 1996. The theme for
Mathematics Awareness Week 1995 is Mathematics and Decision Making,
a wide-ranging topic to use as a focus for communicating the power
and diversity of mathematics to a wider audience.

We all make many decisions every day: from the clothes we put on
according to weather predictions to the routes we choose to run
errands. Many more are made for us: by the suppliers of goods and
services we use and by the makers of public policies. Mathematics
plays an important part in making many decisions. A better
understanding of the mathematics involved will help us make better
decisions and better understand those that affect us.

Mathematics and decision making includes such ideas as probability,
risk, uncertainty, and prediction. Financial decision making
incorporates such techniques as portfolio optimization, option
processing, and risk management. Operations research -- use of
mathematical models to optimize some practical operation -- is
widely used in government and industry. Risk assessment and
management have significant implications in public policy making --
particularly in health and the environment -- and suggest a broader
issue: how to extrapolate from valid studies to extreme situations
that can't be easily studied.

Here is an opportunity to expose a wider audience to mathematics --
from the creation and discovery of new mathematics, to its myriad
of uses in decision making. We urge you to meet with your
colleagues and begin planning for Mathematics Awareness Week 1996
immediately. You can observe Mathematics Awareness Week 1996 with
a special program on your campus, in your company, or at a local
school. For ideas, look at the accompanying summaries of selected
activities held in 1995 to celebrate Mathematics Awareness Week.

The following items are among those that will be available under
the Mathematics Awareness Week heading on the "gopher" of the
Mathematical Association of America:

* A sample proclamation to use in working with local officials
in preparing a proclamation for your state or locality;

* Suggestions for conveying the importance of mathematics to
public policy leaders;

* A list of available information on Careers in the
Mathematical Sciences;

* A summary of mathematical resources, including reports on
the improvement of mathematics education and other policy
issues and items on Mathematics and Decision Making;

* Information about videos in mathematics to use during your
MAW event.

* More examples of 1995 MAW activities

The above items and links to more examples of Mathematics and
Decision Making can be found on the MAW World Wide Web home page,
URL: http://forum.swarthmore.edu/maw/

Early next year we will mail a MAW 1996 poster depicting Mathematics
and Decision Making to a list of individuals in the mathematics
community. We will also enclose and electronically post:

* A sample news release, which you can adapt and mail to local
media outlets;

* Articles on the theme, Mathematics and Decision Making;

Last year, based on calls received, there were hundreds of radio
and television spots and articles and editorials in local and
institutional newspapers covering MAW activities. We encourage you
to use this opportunity to write an editorial on mathematics, or to
generate a news release about your special MAW event. Be sure to
talk with your institution's Public Information Office about your
ideas and activities. The staff there might offer additional
suggestions for using Mathematics Awareness Week to increase public
understanding about mathematics.

Once again there will be an electronic mailing list to discuss
items related to MAW. To subscribe send a message to
with the following command in the body of your email message:
subscribe maw-list <your email address>
To send a message to this list, address it by email to:
The majordomo software will then send it to everyone on the list.

Any idea you have for spreading the word about mathematics is a
viable one for MAW. Look over the descriptions of last year's
activities for ideas and start to make your plans now.


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Pat Rogers Faculty of Education and Department of Mathematics & Statistics York University, 4700 Keele St., North York, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3 Tel: (416) 736-5009 Fax: (416) 736-5913 E-mail: progers@edu.yorku.ca