Calling math enthusiasts everywhere! April is Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month. Now’s the time to increase the understanding and appreciation of both sciences! You’ll find fun and fascinating math- and stat-related events around the country—workshops, competitions, exhibits, festivals, lectures, symposia, department open houses, math art exhibits, math poetry readings, math comedy, even some official proclamations by local politicians.
But let’s start with some simple definitions. Mathematics is the study of wholes and parts, and the relationship between them. Statistics, a branch of applied mathematics, collects and analyzes numerical data in large quantities, especially for inferring proportions in a whole from a representative sample.
Statistics is enjoying an especially high profile today, thanks to the advent of “Big Data,” which involves analyzing huge data sets for insights to help make better business decisions.
The Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM), which added “Statistics” to its Mathematics Awareness Month in 2017, says it best:
‘Both subjects play a significant role in addressing many real-world problems–internet security, sustainability, disease, climate change, the data deluge, and much more. Research in these and other areas is ongoing, revealing new results and applications every day in fields such as medicine, manufacturing, energy, biotechnology, and business. Mathematics and statistics are important drivers of innovation in our technological world, in which new systems and methodologies continue to become more complex.’
April is a time to celebrate the diverse researchers and students in these fields who are contributing so much to furthering discoveries, solving problems, and finding beauty in our world. It also underscores the importance of math education at all levels. From our perspective, it’s especially important to help children learn to understand and to love math, so that they have the potential to grow into adults who can understand and contribute to the world through math.
Check your local listings for a Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month program near you!