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Mathematics Awareness Month, Lecture This event took places on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 in Williams Hall. Mr. Paul Oser, a lecturer and director of the math center here at Oxford College of Emory, gave a V memorable presentation on mathematics and its relationship with things that affect our
lives. One relationship was with the milking of cows. Another was with climate change
and global warming. The last relationship was with stocks and the economy. All three
examples were interesting and very informative. Dr. Oser ﬁrst began the lecture with a short tale of a farmer. The farmer was in a
dilemma with his cows. He had plenty of cows but none of them wanted to or could
produce any milk. The poor farmer was trapped and did not know how or what to do.
When the farmer approached a mathematician, the mathematician reassurineg said that
he would be able to help the farmer with his problem. So the mathematician began to
work on this problem and came to a solution and thought that this would surely help the
poor man. So when he tried to apply the formula to the cows the mathematician then
realized that the cows were not spheres. Unfortunately for the farmer the formula could
not be applied to his problems with the cows. The moral of the story was that
mathematics could only be applied to certain situations if they had the correct criteria. During this seminar we were shown how applicable math is to real life situations.
We were shown that math is very complicated and to applying it the economy, earth and
cows would not be very time friendly. Because of time constraints Mr. Oser showed us
more basic and simple models that were visually appealing and were intellectually
arousing. One of the examples that stood out to me the most was the one of the ozone.
There were two variables that were both related to each other and to the weather. Mr.
Oser represented these variables with a black ﬂower and a white ﬂower. The formulas
that were given to us were very simple and had basic relationships. They were nothing
too detailed but they drew a very nice picture in which I was able to see the relationship
between the greenhouse gases and heat. Another thing that I learned about
mathematicians, which I was not aware of was that mathematicians are happy to see an
unexpected result because it shows that there is still something left to learn. Being an economics major I know that there is a strong relationship between math
and the economy. But the example that was shown to us was something that was very
interesting. There was the option of investing in two stocks, which were terribly failing
on their own. One would go up slowly and then drop but the other one would constantly
fall. Individually they were horrible investments. But together there was a slight increase
every time an investment was made. I thought that this was interesting and highly
applicable. In my opinion I think that Dr. Oser did a wonderful job trying to explain what
mathematics was and what it was capable of doing. He kept us on'the edge of our seats
with his formulas and pictures and made us want to learn more. In all honesty it was the
shortest and one of the most enjoyable Oxford Studies that l have been to in the past three
semesters. Also, I am not usually know'n for giving so much praise for a math topic, considering my strong dislike for math. I think that Mr. Oser should host this event
multiple times a year, just not during mathematics awareness week. ...
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- Fall '10
- Mathematician, David Hilbert, Mr. Oser, Dr. Oser ﬁrst, Dr. Oser