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COLLEGE STATION --

Texas A&M University is getting a jump on April, kicking off the nationwide annual observance of Math Awareness Month a week early with its 14th annual Texas A&M Math Fair, set for Saturday, March 25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the John R. Blocker Building.

The early start is apropos, says Texas A&M mathematician and event coordinator Tamara Carter, given this year's slight twist on the longstanding tradition -- the inclusion of statistics in a newly renamed Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month. Hosted by the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics, the Math Fair is the highlight of Texas A&M's month-long series of events designed to increase public understanding of and appreciation for both disciplines.

Free and open to all ages, the fair will feature mentored problem-solving, games, mathematical arts and crafts, mathemagic and card tricks. All events will be held on the second floor of Blocker and conclude with a pizza lunch at noon, followed by a raffle and closing remarks from 12:30 to 1 p.m.

In keeping with the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival Organization format adopted for last year's fair, Carter says participants will receive a raffle ticket when they solve a problem, complete an art project or just make a significant step in a solution. The more tickets they accumulate, the better their chance of receiving a prize, with the overall goal being that they are simultaneously thinking about the problem and hoping to improve their odds.

Free parking is available in Lots 50 and 51 on the northeast side of the Texas A&M campus, while paid visitor parking also can be found in the Northside Garage adjacent to the Blocker Building.

Dr. Emil J. Straube, professor and head of Texas A&M Mathematics, says the broadened 2017 theme reflects the increasingly significant role that mathematics and statistics play in addressing many real-world problems, including climate change, disease, sustainability, the data deluge and internet security. He notes that, because of the complexities of global challenges and their possible solutions, a multidisciplinary approach founded in mathematics and statistics is more vital than ever before.

"Professionals with strong quantitative, problem-solving and 3D visualization skills are in great demand," Straube said. "What better way to foster the interests of young kids than to bring them to campus and show them that all this serious-sounding stuff is also fun!"

Sponsored by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM), Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month began in 1986 when then-United States President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation establishing National Mathematics Awareness Week. Activities generally are organized on local, state and regional levels by college and university departments, institutional public information offices, student groups, and related associations and interest groups.

The JPBM is a collaborative effort of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

For registration information and other details about the Texas A&M Math Fair and Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month, visit http://www.math.tamu.edu/outreach/mam/.

To learn more about Texas A&M Mathematics, visit http://www.math.tamu.edu/.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Tamara Carter, (979) 862-4306 or tcarter@math.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

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