Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Math Doesn't Suck

Remember The Wonder Years? There was a sweet girl-next-door named Winnie Cooper on the show. Well, that “sweet” girl, Danica McKellar, grew up to prove Barbie wrong. Math Doesn’t Suck is the title of her new book and with it she hopes to inspire a love of mathematics in middle school girls.

This UCLA graduate holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and while she was an undergrad she authored a math proof Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin–Teller models on Z2. Today, the proof is known as the Chayes-McKellar-Winn theorem. Yes folks, she’s the real deal and even has an Erdos number of 4 to prove it. One of the few people on the planet with a finite Erdos-Bacon number of 6, Danica is living proof that mathematic prowess in no way curtails creativity.

This busy actor, mathematician, writer, and ballroom dancer has a website and Danica's Corner where she provides “math tutoring” and helps out with questions about math. The perfect role model for future mathematicians, especially middle school girls, Danica testified to a Congressional subcommittee in 2000 about how to draw more women into science and math. There seems to be no stopping Danica who’s out to prove to young girls that math rocks!

“From actress and mathematician Danica McKellar—best known for her roles as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years and political speechwriter Elsie Snuffin on The West Wing—comes Math Doesn't Suck, a groundbreaking book that uses hip and entertaining examples to teach middle-school girls (and their parents) how to master many of the tough concepts that are introduced in middle school, the time when young girls begin to shy away from math. Called a “math superstar” by The New York Times, McKellar graduated summa cum laude in mathematics from UCLA, co-authored a published math theorem, and is now an outspoken advocate for inspiring young women to excel in math.” - The Penguin Group

Thanks to Danica, maybe next time Barbie gets to talk instead of saying "Math class is tough!" she'll say “Math class rocks!”

*Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail will be released on August 2, 2007 just in time for back to school.

Hat Tip: Pencils Down

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