Taking Numbers Beyond the Common Denominator (VPR)

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Vermont Public RadioIn a show about numbers inspired by Wednesday’s unusual date, 12/12/12, Vermont Public Radio’s Jane Lindholm interviews a number of experts, including Dartmouth’s Daniel Rockmore, chair of the mathematics department and the William. H. Neukom 1964 Professor of Computational Science.

Rockmore organized “Math-O-Vision,” a contest sponsored by The Neukom Institute for Computational Science and Dartmouth’s mathematics department that is open for submissions through May 1, 2013. The contest challenges high school students to create four-minute films about the ways math is used in everyday life.

“Movie-making is a great creative process, and people often think of mathematics as this abstract, unseeable kind of thing,” Rockmore tells Lindholm. However, he says, citing Walt Disney’s 1959 film Donald in Mathmagic Land as an example, “you can really visualize all sorts of mathematics and bring great creative and fun explanations to the subject, and that’s engaging. People love it, and that makes them like math more than they usually do, so it’s a great opportunity.”

Math-O-Vision asks high school students to combine their artistic talents and their mathematical interests, Rockmore says. “The fact that there’s a prize at the end doesn’t hurt, but the more people engage in just thinking about mathematics in any possible way has to be for the good.”

Listen to the full show, broadcast 12/12/12 on VPR.