MA. Regina Estuar, chair of the Ateneo de Manila University computer science and information systems department, has good news.
An interdisciplinary team composed of Wilhansen Li (computer science/mathematics), Rodrick Tan (management engineering), Philip Cheang (fine arts-information design) and Levi Tan-Ong (chemical engineering, University of the Philippines) was first place in the recent Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals for Game Design in Warsaw, Poland.
An annual Microsoft competition, the Imagine Cup has five categories: software design, embedded development, digital media, information technology challenge, and game design.
In the early 2000s, Ateneo also won in the contest when it was still the Microsoft Net Competition. Since it was renamed the Imagine Cup in 2003, our team has made it to the world finals three times. This year we finally emerged champions.
No to $1 million
Reclusive Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman was awarded in March the $1 million Clay Math Institute Millennium Prize for solving the famous Poincare Conjecture. A few weeks ago, he announced that his decision not to accept the money was final.
In 1900, French mathematician Henri Poincare postulated a complex problem in topology, the study of properties of objects that are stretched, deformed or twisted, but not broken up.
The conjecture sounds esoteric, and the simplest explanation is found in Wikipedia: ?The Poincare conjecture is a theorem about the characterization of the three-dimensional sphere among three-dimensional manifolds. The claim concerns a space that locally looks like ordinary three-dimensional space, but is connected, finite in size, and lacks any boundary. The conjecture claims that if such a space has the additional property that each loop in the space can be continuously tightened to a point, then it is necessarily a three-dimensional sphere.?
As convoluted as it may sound, topology has important applications in industry, engineering, geometry. Many mathematicians have tried to crack the conjecture, but no one has succeeded, until Perelman provided the proof in 2002 and 2003.
In 2006, Perelman turned down the Fields Medal (the math equivalent of the Nobel). This time, he declined the Millennium Prize, saying he was only following in the footsteps of another mathematician.
I am not sure I agree with Perelman?s decision, but I admire him for his devotion to intellectual pursuits. He solved the conjecture not for the prize but for the sheer joy of exploration, something sorely lacking in this mercenary world.
May his example inspire other scientists (and artists) to renew their dedication to their craft above all else.
Valerie Hizon writes: I was your student in the Edu-Psych class (you conducted for) the Xavier School teachers. I was wondering if you could refer me to somebody who could teach/train me and a couple of my teachers to do Singapore math. Apparently, a progressive preschool is supposed to start familiarizing students with the Singapore math style to prepare them for the big school. We have students that are already verbal from 4 years old to 6 years old. This training would really help our kids.
My reply: I have been receiving a lot of queries on Singapore math. For the record, I think if the teachers are trained well, it can be a good method for kids to understand math.
Xavier is one of the schools already doing Singapore math. I think their teachers can help you. Ask the math teachers who were in my class with you.
There are other schools doing the model approach, and they may have training sessions for their teachers that you can join. Many centers specializing in Singapore math are opening up, but I am not certain about their quality.
Blessie S. Luzarita of Iloilo City writes: May I seek your help in confirming if Australian Math is a bona fide math organization? I have checked their website but it seems that access to further information is for members only and requires a password.
My reply: The Australian Mathematical Society is the umbrella society of math in Australia, with website at www.austms.org.au. They are a bona fide organization and most, if not all, of their members are teaching math in Australia.
Beth Mabugay says: The book ?Alex?s Adventures in Numberland? may interest you. I am sending a link to a review in the Independent on May 21 (www.independent.co.uk).
My reply: Thank you for your suggestion. I have not yet read an actual copy (I don?t think the book has reached our shores) but, from the reviews on the Net, I think the book is worth reading.
Alex Bellos approaches math in a spirit of fun. Using stories and anecdotes instead of equations, Bellos takes the reader on a journey from geometry and numbers to probability and computers, with snippets of fascinating trivia. I look forward to reading this book soon.
E-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.