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A Month for Math in Utah’s Mountains Park City Mathematics Institute June 29-July 19

July 1, 2003 — About 240 mathematics students, educators and researchers are meeting in Utah’s Wasatch Range for the 13th Annual Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI) Summer Session, which began June 29 and runs through July 19.

The PCMI is regarded as the nation’s leading program of professional development for mathematics educators, post-secondary students and researchers. It was established in 1991 by the University of Utah and in 1993 became a program sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study – the Princeton, N.J., research facility where Albert Einstein worked during much of his career. Last year, the Institute for Advanced Study moved the math institute’s administrative office and administrator Catherine Giesbrecht from New Jersey to the University of Utah campus.

The PCMI Summer Session includes a variety of courses and programs aimed at mathematics researchers, graduate students, undergraduates, high school math teachers, researchers in mathematics education and college faculty who teach undergraduates. The PCMI Summer Session is taking place at the Prospector Square Lodging and Conference Center in Park City, Utah.

Giesbrecht says the following portions of this year’s PCMI Summer Session may be of interest to reporters. Contact Giesbrecht to arrange interviews or other coverage:

— From Sat. July 5 through Weds. July 9, educators from around the world will participate in the Third International Seminar on Mathematics Education: Bridging Policy and Practice, with a wrap-up of the proceedings on July 9. Two participants have been invited from each of the following: Iran, Northern Ireland, Romania, Ecuador, New Zealand, Cameroon, Japan and the United States. Each team will include a practicing secondary school teacher and either a math education researcher or someone who influences education policy. The seminar will examine the issue of teacher preparation. The seminar is organized by Joan Ferrini-Mundy, associate dean and director of the College of Natural Sciences Teacher Education Program at Michigan State University, and Gail Burrill, instructor at Michigan State University and a past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The U.S. team includes Johnny Lott, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and a professor at the University of Montana.

— From Mon. July 7 through Fri. July 11, Prof. Deborah Ball, of the University of Michigan, will conduct an Elementary Mathematics Teaching Lab. She will present an overview of the lab at 3:15 p.m. Fri. July 11 in the Grand Theater at Prospector Square. About 15 to 20 fifth-grade students from Park City will participate in the lab while being observed by mathematics education specialists, teachers and college faculty, including University of Utah mathematics Prof. Hugo Rossi. Ball will teach the students number theory, and the observers will meet daily to critique the teaching methods and to explore appropriate mathematical topics for the class. The elementary level of mathematics education is a new focus for the PCMI, which historically has not addressed anything lower than middle school education and is primarily focused at the high school and college levels.

— Giesbrecht also suggests reporters may be interested in writing feature stories about the overall institute and its direct impact on math teaching both nationwide and in Utah. Giesbrecht can refer reporters to the handful of Utah teachers participating in the PCMI Summer Session’s program for high school teachers.

— Robert Taub, world-renowned pianist, will present two concerts as part of the PCMI. At 12:30 p.m. Mon. July 7, Taub will perform for invited young pianists, from age 6 to 15, at Libby Gardner Hall, 1375 E. Presidents Circle on the University of Utah campus. The free concert also is open to the public on a space-available basis. Sponsors include the PCMI, the law firm of Spahr Andrews and Ingersoll, Daynes Music, the Hatch Utah Family Foundation and the Bamberger-Allen Health and Education Foundation. At 7:30 p.m. on Tues. July 8, Taub will perform at the annual concert for the PCMI participants, held at St. Mary’s Church, 1505 W. White Pine Canyon Road, Park City. Free tickets may be reserved by the public by calling the PCMI’s temporary Park City office at (435) 649-7100, ext. 2536. This will be the eighth such concert given by Taub, a former artist-in-residence at the Institute for Advanced Study, PCMI’s sponsoring institution.

As for mathematics researchers, their topic during this year’s PCMI is Harmonic Analysis and Partial Differential Equations. The research program is organized by Michael Christ of the University of California, Berkeley; Carlos Kenig of the University of Chicago; and Wilhelm Schlag of the California Institute of Technology.

The PCMI receives major funding from the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the National Security Agency, the Starr Foundation, the State of New Jersey, the George S. and Delores Dore Eccles Foundation, the Wolfensohn Family Foundation, the Chautauqua Workshop Programs, and Charles and Rosanna Jaffin.

For more information about the programs of the IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute, see: