South Dakota Tech News
501 E. Saint Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701-3995
Phone: (605) 394-6082/2554 • Fax: (605) 394-6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2005
Contact: Steve Buchholz, Public Information Manager, 394-6082
April Computes Math’s Importance In The Cosmos
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will celebrate Mathematics
Awareness Month with two presentations beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 19,
in McLaury Room 205.
The first part of the presentation, “Mars Mania: The Search for Signs of Water,”
will be presented by Tom Durkin, deputy director of the South Dakota Space
Grant Consortium. Durkin’s presentation will show the role math plays in the
Mars rover expeditions. The second part of the presentation will feature the DVD,
“The Right Spin.” In the video, astronaut Michael Foale explains how Euler
Equations helped save the MIR space station after a collision.
The School of Mines invites the public to the free presentations. They are
sponsored by the student chapter of the Mathematics Association of America.
“The School of Mines recognizes the important role that mathematics plays in
modern life,” Dr. Kyle Riley, assistant professor in the Department of
Mathematics and Computer Science, said. “Our engineering and science
programs exemplify the power that comes from working with mathematics.”
From the time astronomers began exploring the universe hundreds of years ago,
mathematics has played a critical role in observations and discoveries.
To honor math’s role in the Final Frontier, theme of this year’s Mathematics
Awareness Month is “Mathematics and the Cosmos.” Mathematics Awareness
Month is held each year in April to increase public understanding of — and
appreciation for — mathematics. The celebration began in 1986 as Mathematics
Awareness Week with a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan.
“Mathematics has a rich history with the study of the universe, exploration of our
own solar system, and the development of the instruments and tools we use to
investigate the cosmos,” Riley said. “Many of the amazing images we receive
from telescopes, satellites and space probes are subject to elaborate
mathematical and statistical processing techniques.”
Mathematics is also a valuable asset in the theoretical models that scientists use
to study the fundamental nature of space, matter and time. In fact, mathematics
is at the core of our attempts to understand the cosmos at every level —
Riemannian geometry and topology provide models of the universe, numerical
simulations help us to understand large-scale dynamics, and celestial mechanics
provide a key to comprehending the solar system. Whether you are talking about
Galileo or Stephen Hawking, mathematics has always been a vital part of
exploring the Cosmos.
More information about Mathematics Awareness Month program can be found at
http://www.mathaware.org and http://www.hpcnet.org/mam2005.
The School of Mines reminds local high school math teachers that the West
River Mathematics Contest will be held at the university May 9. For more
information, call 394-2471.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.