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Please join us today for a lecture by Alicia Prieto Langarica.  She will build upon some of the ideas introduced by Dr. Harris last week on “Computer Data Encryption – Decrypted.” However, it is not necessary to have attended the September 27th session to learn a great deal from this presentation.  We will meet at 2:00 in our usual location: room 2.410 of the Engineering and Computer Sciences South (ECSS) building on the UT Dallas campus. The building is at the corner of Drive A and Rutford.  Please recall that this week we are moving to a 2 hour lecture format.

In addition to being one of our favorite lecturers, Ms. Langarica is a great example for young women who have a talent and a passion for mathematics.

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New 2 Hour Format


Starting October 4th, Metroplex Math Circle lectures will take place from 2:00 to 4:00. We are hoping that the new 2 hour time will produce fewer conflicts with the busy weekend activities of our many students. Because the length of the lectures has been reduced we urge everyone to arrive for a prompt start at 2:00.

After 4:00, students may want to spend some time talking with one another or asking questions of our speakers. Parents might also use this informal time for discussion of the Math Circle or other relevant topics.

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October 4th, we will review the history of cryptography starting with the classic methods, medieval techniques, cryptographic mechanical machines and finishing with contemporary cryptographic methods. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method and we will try to come up with different cryptographic methods of our own.

Ms. Langarica is a mathematics Phd student at The University of Texas at Arlington. She has a BS in Applied Mathematics from the Univestity of Texas at Dallas and was a contestant in the Mexican Mathematics Olympiads for 5 years where she received one national silver medal and two gold medals. Since then, she has been involved continuously in mathematics Olympiads as a trainer and problem writer.

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Following are some pictures of the first MMC meeting of the 2008-2009 season.

As you can see we have an excellent facility thanks to the generosity of UT Dallas. What is harder to see is that we filled every seat in a room with capacity >100.

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The first Math Circle of the 2008-2009 season succeeded on multiple levels. In its third year, Metroplex Math Circle finally exceeded the capacity of its current (large) lecture hall with over 100 students, teachers and parents in attendance. We were pleased to see many friends return, but even more new faces who were discovering Math Circles for the first time.

Comparative Advantage

Richard Rusczyk’s talks also exceeded all expectations. His first lecture was on the concept of comparative advantage and the benefits of free trade which many adults fail to grasp. Like many lessons in Math Circle, Mr. Rusczyk allowed the students to discover the meaning of the concept by playing out a game between two imagined countries. “Games” and the importance of “play” would be stressed throughout the day.

Option Pricing

The second segment introduced the audience to the principles of market prices and call options. With the current turmoil on Wall Street, parents were just as interested in this topic as the students. Mr. Rusczyk presented the students with a problem that he would use when he was recruiting for D.E. Shaw. Only the best students from elite schools ever made it to this stage in the interview process and apparently all but a handful (accomplished problem solvers) ever answered the problem correctly.

Life After MATHCOUNTS

In his final lecture, Richard Rusczyk sent students, parents and teachers home with a great deal to consider. He spoke very frankly and persuasively about the short comings of the standard school curriculum. But rather than just criticize, he also laid out concrete ways that students, parents and teachers can all improve the situation.

We won’t attempt to summarize this excellent talk particularly since an early version of the slides can be accessed below. However, a couple of themes should be highlight. First was his emphasis on play and the importance of giving students the time and freedom to work on challenging problems. A second theme was the importance of building a math community for young problem solvers, and the central role that a Math Circle can play. Finally, Mr. Rusczyk endorsed what many of us have already discovered, that Dr. Titu Andreescu’s books and leadership have been critical to the Renaissance in global problem solving.

Richard Rusczyk has committed himself to fulfilling the principles in his presentation by founding the Art of Problem Solving. Please take the time to see his presentation and the other excellent resources he has collected and developed.

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We are very happy to announce our speaker for September 27th. MMC, through the generosity of UT Dallas, flies these esteemed speakers to Dallas just to speak at our math circles. We will post with more information on Dr. Harris’ talk as the date approaches.

Bennette Harris is currently an Associate Professor and former department chair of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he has been on staff since 1982. His research interests include topics in both mathematics and computer science. He is the 1984 recipient of UW-Whitewater’s Roseman Teaching Award, the university’s highest honor. In addition to teaching at UW-Whitewater, Bennette has taught computer technology courses for IBM and AT&T, and has served as a mathematics and computer consultant for a number of industries. This fall he is on sabbatical conducting research in automated Internet server management strategies. Bennette has a BS in mathematics from Virginia Tech, MA from UW-Madison, and EdD from Oklahoma State.

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In November Metroplex Math Circle will help sponsor a special presentation from Dr. Arthur Benjamin! Dr. Benjamin is a distinguished mathematician at Harvey Mudd but also a very entertaining “mathemagician” whose shows are commissioned by many corporations and institutions around the country.

Here is his presentation at the prestigious TED conference:

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We are very excited to kick off the 2008-2009 season of Metroplex Math Circle with a presentation by Mr. Richard Rusczyk founder of The Art of Problem Solving. Following is some information on Richard. As we get closer to the 20th we will be providing more information on his talk.

AoPS Incorporated was founded by Richard Rusczyk in 2003 to create interactive educational opportunities for avid math students. Richard Rusczyk is one of the co-authors of the Art of Problem Solving textbooks, author of Art of Problem Solving’s Introduction to Algebra and Introduction to Geometry textbooks, one of the co-creators of the Mandelbrot Competition, and the Director of the USA Mathematical Talent Search. He was a participant in National MATHCOUNTS, a three-time participant in the Math Olympiad Summer Program, and a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner (1989). He graduated from Princeton University in 1993, helped inaugurate ESPN’s SportsFigures program, and worked as a bond trader for D.E. Shaw & Company for four years. AoPS marks Richard’s return to his vocation – educating motivated students.

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