Archive for May 2012

PCAST Report to the President

Undergraduate STEM Education Report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)

Undergraduate STEM Education Report

On February 7, PCAST released Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  “This report provides a strategy for improving STEM education during the first two years of college that we believe is responsive to both the challenges and the opportunities that this crucial stage in the STEM education pathway presents. Economics projections point to a need for approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than the US will produce at the current rate over the next decade if the country is to retain its historical preeminence in science and technology. To meet this goal, the United States will need to increase the number of students who receive undergraduate STEM degrees by about 34% annually …”

Response by the Mathematical Association of America


Note added 19 June 2012. In his Launchings, David Bressoud concluded that, “In short, the problem is not with attracting students to STEM fields. The issue will be to retain them.”


Soap Bubbles on the Roof of the Met

The Weaire-Phelan soap bubble foam counterexample to Kelvin’s Conjecture is the latest art exhibit on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (photo from New York Times article). It is conjectured to divide space into unit-volume chambers with the least amount of material. It was also used for the Beijing Olympic Water Cube. For more on the Kelvin Conjecture, see my blog at the Huffington Post.






Note added 8 July 2012. Rob Kusner pointed out this canopy, designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti, in Bogotá, Columbia, reported by Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times.

Lehigh Geometry Topology Conference

The 2012 Lehigh University Geometry-Topology Conference was as warm and welcoming as ever. Here’s a photo from the final day.

I win Car Talk puzzler again?

Car Talk Saturday, May 26, announced me as the winner of the Puzzler. As they did on Saturday, January 25, 2004. For the same puzzle. Which I never answered. At that time I wrote to my congratulatory friends:

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 08:21:35 -0500
Dear Friends,

It was great to hear from you about a curious announcement on Car Talk yesterday of my winning the Puzzler, curious since I did not even submit an answer to that particular question! I have six theories, successively less plausible: Continue reading ‘I win Car Talk puzzler again?’ »