Mathematicians doing mathematics: "The Proof"

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016 - 1:20pm

Dear Colleagues, Friends, & Supporters,

Our new blog by Prof. Phil Hotchkiss describes how we are using the NOVA movie "The Proof" to help students understand the process of doing mathematics. Most of them have never heard of a living mathematician! Read our students' reflections on the role of mistakes, emotion, collaboration, and creativity in the process of doing mathematics.

Some of us are in Europe already and we are looking forward to two conferences here: We are facilitating a workshop at the International Congress on Mathematical Education in Hamburg and are giving a talk at the Imaginary Conference in Berlin.

Are you interested in visiting Westfield and joining some IBL classes for a day or two? We have updated our schedule for Fall 2016 and would love to collaborate with you!


Julian Fleron, Phil Hotchkiss, Volker Ecke, & Christine von Renesse.

students discussing the movie "The Proof"

To help our students better understand the process of doing mathematics and how even great mathematicians need to struggle with ideas before solving a problem, we show our students the video, The Proof, a NOVA special about Andrew Wiles proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem. The students’ responses to the video have shown some remarkable depth and recognition of how different the process of doing mathematics really was from what they had experienced.