For the Love of Math

6 Tuesdays beginning February 25, 2020 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm

Regrettably the last three classes for this course have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Lecturer: Heather Douglas

Math is a beautiful thing.  According to Galileo, the universe is written in the language of math.  And what a language it is. From 35,000 year-old tally marks, to abacus books, to the numbers you tap on your keyboard – we’ve been using math for millennia to keep track of daily life and to make sense of patterns in our complex world.  But people have a funny relationship with math, and some even ask ‘Does math matter?’ I say an unequivocal yes!  Did you know that your number skills when you’re 7 years old will predict your financial success 35 years later regardless of your parent’s financial status? Math definitely matters.

Join us as we explore this rich and fascinating topic.  Over the course of six lectures we’ll follow the history of math symbols from notches on counting sticks to the complex symbol system we use today.  We’ll bust some common math myths – for example, boys are not better at math than girls and there is no such thing as a “math brain.” We will see what studies of the human brain can tell us about how we [process?] make sense of math.  And we’ll answer some interesting questions:  How does culture influence math learning?   What can parents do to set their children up for math success?  What’s the story on math anxiety?

Using a broad base of research (neuroscience, psychology, education, cognitive science), in-class demonstrations, and hands-on learning activities – the lectures aim to engage and enlighten. Be curious!  No math skills required.


  1. Math and the Brain
  2. How we learn math
  3. Math and Culture

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