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Beauty, Play, Truth and Justice: How Mathematics Cultivates Human Virtues

Most approaches to teaching and learning mathematics produce high school and even college graduates who profoundly misunderstand and misrepresent the form and substance of mathematics. In this lecture, Dr. Laurie Heyer dispels myths about mathematics by discussing topics and themes from a new course she will teach in the spring semester, MAT 101: Mathematics for Human Flourishing. The course, inspired by Francis Su’s lecture and book by the same name, illuminates mathematics as a creative human endeavor that cultivates human virtues.

About the Speaker: Laurie Heyer is the John T. Kimbrough Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Davidson College. She came to Davidson in 2000 after a postdoctoral position at the University of Southern California, doctoral work at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an eight-year stint in industry. A founding member and current director of Davidson’s James G. Martin genomics program, her research interests lie at the intersection of mathematics, biology, and computer science, and she has coauthored two textbooks with faculty from Davidson's Biology Department. Professor Heyer served as chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department from 2013-2017, and the Faculty in Residence at the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship from 2018-2021. She currently serves as coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Data Science.