Changing the Culture 2000

Changing the Culture 2000:
Visualizing Mathematics

April 28, 2000
SFU at Harbour Centre
515 Hastings Street, Vancouver

The advent of affordable computers with huge storage and communication capabilities seems to promise a golden age of mathematical visualisation. The question is to what extent it can relieve us of the laborious doodling and imagining that has always been an integral part of mathematical activity.

When asked about the nature of his thinking, Einstein once replied that it was a mixture of visual and kinesthetic elements. The plausibility of that reply is corroborated by any observation of people grappling with mathematics -- say, students taking an exam. When they are not busy writing or drawing, they tend to stare into space or at the ceiling, stab or stroke the air, drum or scribble with their fingers, and the like.

Our question therefore has two parts: (1) what exactly is going on there, and (2) how can computers be integrated into that process?

Conference Programme

Click on lecture title for streamed video filed.

8:45 - 9:15 Registration

9:15 - 9:30 Welcoming remarks: Nassif Ghoussoub, Director of PIMS

9:30 - 10:30 Keynote lecture: Visual Work and the Mathematics Classroom
by Walter Whiteley, York University.

10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break

11:00 - 12:30 Three concurrent workshops: Hi-tech, Lo-tech, No-tech.

12:30 - 13:30 Lunch (provided)

13:30 - 15:00 Panel Discussion: What role can visualisation play in the teaching of mathematics?
Peter Borwein -- Chair (Mathematics and Statistics, SFU)
Sue Haberger (Mathematics, Centennial Secondary)
Nancy Heckman (Statistics, UBC)
Susan Oesterle (Mathematics, Douglas College)
Walter Whiteley (Mathematics, York University)

15:00 - 16:30 Three concurrent workshops: Hi-tech, Lo-tech, No-tech. (As in the morning.)

16:30 - 17:00 Coffee break

17:00 - 18:00 Public lecture: The Mathematics in the Art of M.C. Escher
by H.S.M. Coxeter, University of Toronto.


"Hi-tech". Cinderella is a new constructive geometry program along the lines of Geometer's Sketchpad but with an enlarged and differently designed arsenal of tools. June Lester, University of New Brunswick, will give a demonstration of it and lead a couple of workshops for those interested in a closer acquaintance.

"Lo-tech". Malgorzata Dubiel, SFU, is one of Canada's leading exponents in constructing geometric models on the crucial hands-on level. She is also the main organiser this conference. Her workshop will include pop-up fractals, origami, polyhedra, and more.

"No-tech". The third workshop will re-examine high school geometry in the light of the Geometry Resource Package released by the BC Student Assessment and Program Evaluation Branch in September 1999. It will be led by Bill Casselman, UBC.

Each workshop will last 90 minutes and will take place twice, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Thus, participants will be able (but not obliged) to sign up for two of the three. Plenty of time will be left for coffee breaks and other opportunities for informal encounters.

Previous Changing the Culture Conferences


For more information, contact conference organizer, Malgorzata Dubiel, dubiel at