Demystifying Mathematics Outside the Classroom: An Intro to Math Club

The belief that math is difficult or even boring is commonplace, but Audrey Rosevear, the Math Club president, doesn’t think it has to be.


Math Club was created as a haven where students can explore what math looks like in research and beyond in a stakes-free environment, as well as a forum to discuss mathematical topics with other students. The members of the E-Board organize regular meetings, which take the form of student-run talks and problem solving sessions.


During talks, students have free rein to discuss whatever topics they find interesting in mathematics, whether they are problems related to advanced topics such as commutative algebra, unusual applications of math such as the mathematics behind the Rubix Cube or gerrymandering, or even mathematics’ relevance to other significant fields. As a matter of fact, I was able to give a talk last semester on the math behind fluid dynamics at microscopic scales and how it dictates the way in which microorganisms swim; I found the talk to be a very fun, casual environment to practice my communication skills and an outlet to explore mathematics in related disciplines.


Math problem-solving sessions are also arranged by students and consist of students grouping up to work on a problem set with a unifying theme. In the past, students have pulled problems from the PUMAC (Princeton University Mathematics Competition) to enhance their mathematical knowledge and improve their testing-skills in general. This competition consists of problems that demonstrate applications of a particular subject over the course of 5-10 pages, such as Lie theory, elliptic curves, and graph theory.


Math Club is a great place to improve one’s skills as a mathematician and to meet others who love math. The Mathematics major at Amherst provides many opportunities to explore mathematical topics outside of the core curriculum, yet there is so much to learn outside of the classroom, whether it be direct extensions of mathematical concepts to the natural sciences or advanced topics in mathematics like topology. Math Club gives you an opportunity to hear about what students can do with their quantitative skills in vastly different fields from ones you might be currently exploring, and thus also provides a fresh perspective on the breadth and depth of mathematics as a whole.


If you are interested, please check the club out! You can come to as many meetings as you would like and there’s no pressure at all to give a talk or create a problem set. To get involved, (or if you have any other questions) contact Audrey Rosevear (arosevear22@amherst.edu) or sign up on The Hub (https://thehub.amherst.edu/organization/mathclub). If you’re interested in giving a talk, contact Noah Solomon (nsolomon22@amherst.edu).


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