During the second week of the Winter term, ECLA hosted Steve Maurer, a professor of mathematics at Swarthmore College, near Philadelphia in the USA. Prof. Maurer’s task was twofold: to discuss with faculty and students ways in which mathematics might be integrated into the ECLA curriculum and to test run two introductory seminars which could be offered at ECLA during the next academic year.
On Monday, Prof. Maurer presented a special lecture about the place of mathematics in liberal arts education, which stirred some lively discussion about the relative merits of pure versus applied mathematics at ECLA. During the course of the week, the lecture was followed by two seminars: on Fairness and Elections and on Logic.
In a short interview Prof. Maurer revealed that he enjoyed the academic atmosphere at ECLA: the small seminar groups and the informal interaction between students and faculty reminded him of Swarthmore. He was also pleased about the students’ participation in his seminars and their enthusiasm for maths, despite their predominantly humanities-based backgrounds. Prof. Maurer concluded that he sensed a significant subset of the students are eager to do maths at ECLA – maybe a sign of nostalgia for the definiteness of 2+2=4?
By Alicja Weikop