Girls’ Angle Bulletin, Volume 15, Number 6

Cover of Volume 15, Number 6

The electronic version of the latest issue of the Girls’ Angle Bulletin is now available on our website.

In Volume 15, Number 4, we had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Gloria Marí Beffa of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In that interview, Prof. Marí Beffa mentioned that she’d need a second interview to address a question pertaining to gender and math. In this issue, we are thrilled that Prof. Marí Beffa agreed to this second interview, entirely on the subject of gender and math.

At the club, we rarely discuss gender and math, preferring to focus squarely on mathematics. If it does arise, it’s only because one of our members brings up the topic. But the continued underrepresentation of women in the field of mathematics underscores the importance of the topic. Many different explanations for the underrepresentation of women in mathematics have been proposed. Our opinion is that the so-called leaky pipeline is not at all an indication of a gender disparity in mathematical ability. From our experiences operating a math club for girls, we have seen that girls are fabulously talented at mathematics. We believe instead that the status quo in math education inherently favors boys over girls and we work to find and implement math educational methods that rectify this situation.

Following the interview, Robert Donley extends his exploration of path counting and derives the Binet formula for the Fibonacci numbers. He also connects binomial coefficients to multiset counting. If you like path counting, try to come up with your own network of streets. Who knows, you might discover some nifty new sequence of numbers, as Girls’ Angle members Esmé Krom and Molly M. Roughan did (see Volume 13, Number 3 or read this summary of it), which led to this new sequence on the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequence.

Next, Anna Ma begins an exploration of classification algorithms, starting with a linear classier to sort Halloween candy loot.

We have seen a number of times a situation where a student is having difficulty not so much with the ideas, but with the notation. It never feels good to feel left out and unable to participate because one lacks fluency with the notation, especially because the notation is not the math, it is only meant to facilitate the communication of math. If mathematical notation has been a sore spot for you, we hope this issue’s Notation Station can be of help.

We conclude with this summer’s batch of Summer Fun solutions. In fact, the cover is the solution to one of the problems from Laura Pierson’s problem set on labeled trees and parking functions. It shows every labeled tree on 5 nodes, together with the associated Prüfer sequence.

We hope you enjoy it!

Finally, a reminder: when you subscribe to the Girls’ Angle Bulletin, you’re not just getting a subscription to a magazine. You are also gaining access to the Girls’ Angle mentors.  We urge all subscribers and members to write us with your math questions or anything else in the Bulletin or having to do with mathematics in general. We will respond. We want you to get active and do mathematics. Parts of the Bulletin are written to induce you to wonder and respond with more questions. Don’t let those questions fade away and become forgotten. Send them to us!

Also, the Girls’ Angle Bulletin is a venue for students who wish to showcase their mathematical achievements that go above and beyond the curriculum. If you’re a student and have discovered something nifty in math, considering submitting it to the Bulletin.

We continue to encourage people to subscribe to our print version, so we have removed some content from the electronic version.  Subscriptions are a great way to support Girls’ Angle while getting something concrete back in return.  We hope you subscribe!

About girlsangle

We're a math club for girls.
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