Fans of popular movies such as Star Wars, Avatar, The Avengers, and Frozen” probably aren’t aware that these movies required the use of mathematics to bring them to life. The Division of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Guam is inviting the public to take a look behind the movie scenes with visiting mathematician Michael Dorff at its 12th Annual Math Day.
The event, which is free and open to the public to attend, will begin at 8:30am on Saturday, Nov. 19, with a Mathematics Quiz Competition among 7th to 12th grade student teams covering basic Algebra, pre-Calculus, and Calculus.
Then, at 11:45am, Dorff will give a special presentation titled “Math, Movies, and Bubbles.”
Dorff, a professor of mathematics at Brigham Young University in Utah, with a doctorate in complex analysis, is the former president of the Mathematical Association of America, the world’s largest community of mathematicians, students, and. Dorff works to promote math to the general public, industrial careers in the mathematical sciences, and undergraduate research.
His lecture will give insight into how math was used to create realistic looking snow in “Frozen” and to make an animated character move faster in “The Incredibles.”
In the second part of his talk, Dorff will answer the question “What is the shortest path connecting four points?” and provide a hands-on demonstration of how that concept is connected to creating soap bubbles.
“This is our first Math Day event since 2019, and we are beyond excited to be able to bring such an accomplished mathematician to island,” said Leslie Aquino, chair of the UOG Division of Mathematics and Computer Science. “We are very grateful to Dr. Hideo Nagahashi in our division for his work to restart this event now that most of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted.”
Dorff is also the co-director of the Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences program through the Mathematical Association of America and is the director of strategy and implementation for Transforming Postsecondary Education in Mathematics. He also founded the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics Occidental College in Los Angeles, which has been recognized by the American Mathematical Society as a “Program That Makes a Difference.”
“We hope his talk will inspire an appreciation for math in our community and will ignite a passion in our local students for math as a potential career path,” Aquino said.
Math Day will be held from 8:30am to 1pm on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the School of Business and Public Administration building, Room 129. Registration will take place starting at 8am. For more information, call (671) 735-2832/0137.
Teachers of the 7th to 12th grades may still register teams of students to compete in the Mathematics Quiz Competition until Monday by calling (671) 735-2832/0137. (UOG)