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Mathematics Awareness Month 2014

From magic squares and Möbius bands to magical card tricks and illusions, mysterious phenomena with elegant “Aha!” explanations have permeated mathematics for centuries. Such brain-teasing challenges promote creative and rational thinking, attract a wide range of people to the subject, and often inspire serious mathematical research.

The theme of Mathematics Awareness Month 2014 echoes the title of a 1956 book by renowned math popularizer Martin Gardner, whose extensive writings introduced the public to hexaflexagons, polyominoes, John Conway’s “Game of Life,” Penrose tiles, the Mandelbrot set, and much more. For more than half a century Gardner inspired enthusiasts of all ages to engage deeply with mathematics, and many of his readers chose to pursue it as a career. The year 2014 marks the centennial of Gardner’s birth.

Spelman's Mathemagical Pioneer

On Tuesday, April 1, Spelman's own professor of mathematics Colm Mulcahy kicked off Math Awareness Month with his talk: "Mathematics, Magic & Mystery"—and the Man Who Brought Them Together," at the Mathematical Association of America's headquarters in Washington D.C.

Over the last decade, Mulcahy has been at the forefront of publishing new mathemagical principles and effects for cards, particularly in his long-running bimonthly Card Colm  column for the MAA. Some of his card effects have been featured in the New York Times Numberplay blog. His book Mathematical Card Magic: Fifty-Two New Effects  was published by AK Peters/CRC Press in 2013.

The Spelman Community Joins the Equation

Day 3 of Math Awareness month featured Spelman students Tyler Howe, C'2016 and Shala Brown, C'2014 as they engage in Mulcah's mathemagical trick, "A Few Little Fibs." The video was filmed by Camille Lidonde, C'2015) and staff member Dan Bascelli completed the post production.

Daily Mathspiration

Visit the Math Aware website each day in April as the organizers reveal a new topic per day.. Prior days will remain on view, but the future will retain its mystery.   Follow @MathAware on Twitter for daily activities.