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Math educators from Cheyenne, Laramie, Riverton and Rock Springs focused on complex systems and scientific computing during the 30th Summer Math Institute at the University of Wyoming.
"Complex systems abound in science and in every day life," says Bryan Shader, professor and head of the UW Department of Mathematics. "They are systems composed of a large number of building blocks, called agents, that can interact with each other and with their environment."
Examples include a network of windmills at a wind turbine farm, the stock markets, a bee hive and the Yellowstone ecosystem, he says.
"Participants learned the mathematics necessary to study the emerging phenomena that arise in complex systems, how they self-organize and how they adapt," Shader says. A field trip to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., allowed participants to experience NCAR's on-going research on complex systems such as wildfires, global warming, and ocean currents.
"Not only does the institute serve as an educational opportunity, it's also a valuable meeting place for the state's math teachers, who are encouraged to interact in and out of class," says Shader. "The program is designed to help math instructors incorporate scientific computing into their classrooms and to provide interesting and challenging mathematical activities for their students."
Program tuition, fees, supplies and a field trip are completely funded with support from the School of Energy Resources, UW President Tom Buchanan, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Science and Math Teaching Center.
This 2010 participants are:
Cheyenne -- Maurisa Jensen, Carey Junior High School; Kort Kinstler, Johnson Junior High School; Geoff Reed, Cheyenne Central High School; Bernie Schnorenberg, Wyoming Department of Education; and Rick Simineo and Patricia Urasky, both Cheyenne East High School.
Laramie -- Arianne Eicke, Cindy Reynders, Paul Street, Jennifer Taufa and Jane Taylor, all Laramie High School; and Jan Truchot, UW Science Posse.
Rock Springs -- Ed DeCastro, Independence High School; and Jeff Varley, Rock Springs High School.
Riverton -- Lloyd Meredith, Riverton High School.
The 2011 Institute theme will be Mathematical Experiences through Scientific Computing and Image Processing. For more information about the Summer Math Institute see http://math.uwyo.edu/OpportunitiesK20/SummerInstitute/Site.