Feb. 9, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SRU hosts “Mathematica 8” seminar
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – About a year ago, Jesus Valencia, associate professor in Slippery Rock University’s School of Business, downloaded Mathematica 8 to his computer and was quickly hooked on using it as a teaching tool in his economics classes. He’s now planned a seminar to share his enthusiasm as well as information about the high-tech software program.
The seminar will be at 3:30 p.m., Feb. 20, in Eisenberg.
“The University has a license with Mathematica and the software program is available to all faculty, staff and students,” Valencia said. “It is the Gold Standard for teaching mathematics. It can be a great teaching tool in other classes. Not only does it do the math, I have been really impressed with its graphics capability.”
“You talk in English, and you get results. That is fantastic when you are talking about software. Most software, if you don’t’ know the syntax, or you even miss a comma, the program will not work. So this is a great advantage in Mathematica 8,” he said.
“You can make color graphs in three dimensions, then rotate them in any direction to help students understand the concept being presented,” Valencia said.
“Mathematica 8” offers free-form linguistic input, a new way to compute,” he said. “We have a number of courses that are quantitative, so this is an important aspect to use in the classroom. This software is a great way to link mathematics course with School of Business courses. I have used it to create graphics in my economic analyses and my upper-level micro-economics courses. I had been drawing the graphics by hand.”
Valencia, who primarily teaches economics courses, said another benefit of Mathematica is its ability to store projects in “notebooks” for future use in similar classes or projects. “I think the software has great potential for research and learning and will even have applications in the natural sciences and statistics classes,” he said.
“Anyone who is interested in mathematics should attend the seminar. We are opening it to all faculty, staff and students,” he said.
The software is designed to aid workflow that involves computing results. The software can handle projects ranging from building a hedge fund trading website to publishing interactive engineering textbooks and developing embedded image recognition algorithms or teaching calculus.
Mathematica provides faculty with interactive lessons to engage students and help them understand and prepare for the future across a wealth of disciplines, according to the company’s website promotion. “Researchers can utilize Mathematica to quickly and accurately analyze data, test hypotheses and document results.”
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.