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In this fun and interactive talk, Dr. Frank Wang will introduce students to the concepts and “big ideas” of Group Theory.  Dr. Wang has given this talk at math teacher conferences, on live cable television, and to students as young as fourth grade in schools, large and small, throughout the country.  Dr. Wang is a mathematician by training (PhD in pure math from MIT), textbook author (with Saxon Publishers), and former textbook  publisher (formerly CEO of Saxon Publishers) whose passion and mission are to make the concepts of higher math accessible and interesting to students of all ages and abilities.  In recent years, he has worked with students in Los Angeles Unified, Chicago Public Schools, NYC Public Schools, Clark Co. Public Schools and here at DISD.  This summer, he will become the president of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, succeeding the founding president who has served since the school opened its doors in 1990.  Dr. Wang gives this talk in thanks to the wonderful support he has gotten from and the many friendships he and his family has made in the north Dallas community.

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The Art of Problem Solving has just announced a new course starting this fall in Group Theory.   Like all of the AOPS courses this is sure to be an excellent offering.   Here is the AOPS course description:

Group theory is the study of symmetry. Objects in nature (math, physics, chemistry, etc.) have beautiful symmetries and group theory is the algebraic language we use to unlock that beauty. This example-driven course will focus specifically on building groups from other groups, ways that groups can act on various sets, and using the tools of group theory to construct fields.

Group theory is the gateway to abstract algebra, one of the two core branches of higher mathematics. (Just as calculus is the gateway to the other core branch, analysis.) Algebra and analysis together hold the tools for most areas of advanced mathematics, from geometry to topology to applied mathematics and beyond. Algebra is what tells us (among many other things) that you can’t trisect an angle, that there are finitely many regular polyhedra, and that there is no closed form for solving a quintic, for example. In this class we will get a glimpse of the mathematics underlying these famous questions.

Note: We will not assume prior knowledge of what a group is. Group theory is a topic that is generally reserved for a sophomore or junior level abstract algebra course, but this class attempts to present the most important concepts and examples on a level appropriate for very strong high school students. The goal of this class, as with all of our classes, is to provide a much richer curriculum that challenges students who are otherwise exhausting the subjects available to them.

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