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Presidential Teaching Professor Seminar

Math Can Make Things Simple; That's Why It's Hard

Dr. Harvey Blau
 Dr. Harvey Blau

Harvey Blau, Ph.D.
Department of Mathematical Sciences

Distinguished Teaching Professor

Much of human activity is context-driven, and we tend to prefer contexts that are familiar. But familiar habits of thought may complicate, if not sidetrack, the solution of important problems. Mathematical perspective is about discarding the irrelevant and focusing on what is essential. Since this can involve leaving one's comfort zone, it is not always easily achieved. However, the guided study of diverse, specific instances of a fundamental principle can sometimes loosen the grip of false preconceptions, and facilitate the understanding and application of the principle itself. We'll look at a variety of examples, and try to demonstrate that most of us can use the mathematical approach to our advantage, whether or not we're actually "doing math".

Harvey Blau is Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, where he has taught for 47 years. He has directed eight Ph.D. dissertations in his research areas of algebra and algebraic combinatorics, while over 800 prospective high school mathematics teachers have been among his students in Math 353 (Axiomatic Geometry), for which his textbook, Foundations of Plane Geometry (Whittier Publications, 2008) is used. His 60+ research articles have included joint work with colleagues in Germany, China, and Israel.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Capitol Room, Holmes Student Center
11:30 a.m.—12:00 p.m., Refreshments
12:00 p.m.—1:00 p.m., Presentation and Q&A

No registration is required—Everyone is welcome!


Sponsors:

Office of the Provost
Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center

Last Updated: 9/22/2016