8 June, 2012
Volume 17 No. 23
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In This Issue

In Memoriam, Margaret Sinclair

Youth North American Bridge Championships

"Travelling Salesman" Movie Premieres


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


In Memoriam, Margaret Sinclair


It is with great sadness that the Forum has learned of the death of Margaret Sinclair.

Co-director of the York/Seneca Institute for Math, Science & Technology Education, and a professor in York University's Faculty of Education, Margaret participated in several of the Forum's earliest residential institutes while earning her Ph.D. in math education. At our third Advanced Summer Institute, fourteen years ago, Margaret developed a unit entitled "Algebraic Problem Solving Using Spreadsheets," the principles of which remain relevant today:


Despite the distance between southeastern Pennsylvania and her hometown of Toronto, Margaret quickly became part of the Forum's extended family. Over one particularly memorable weekend, Forum Problem of the Week Administrator Annie Fetter and Margaret had the pleasure of going to the then-newly opened SkyDome (now known as the Rogers Centre) — the first time Margaret had ever attended a professional basketball game. The next night, they took to the ice to enjoy that most Canadian of pastimes after Annie's casual inquiry, "Do you guys ever go curling?" elicited looks of astonishment among Margaret's family of six, who answered, "We LOVE curling! Would you really want to go?!"

Margaret leaves her husband of 43 years and nine children and grandchildren.

PoW taking place: math problem-solving moment of the week

"This was challenging. I used 'guess and check' on the first problem and 'work backwards' on the extras."
- twentyfour, highlighted in the Pre-Algebra PoW's Latest Solution

Youth North American Bridge Championships


The American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) celebrates its 75th anniversary this year — and holds its annual Youth North American Bridge Championships (NABC) in Philadelphia Thursday, 19 July - Saturday, 21 July.

Any player 19 years of age or younger with fewer than 5000 ACBL masterpoints may participate — and compete for the $1,000 and $4,000 scholarships. Register by Friday, 15 June, in order to receive a gift.

This year's Youth Championships include a live panel discussion featuring former youth players who went on to current stardom, such as Player of the Year Joel Wooldridge, Fred Gitelman, Gavin Wolpert, Jenny Wolpert, and Adam Kaplan.

Part math, part science, part logic, part reason, bridge embodies cooperation, logic and problem-solving. As a partnership game, bridge also cultivates trust, communication, and patience.

For lessons and other teaching materials, check out the ACBL's freely downloadable teacher manuals:

  • Bidding in the 21st Century
  • Play of the Hand in the 21st Century
  • Defense in the 21st Century


A not-for-profit organization founded in 1937, ACBL today is the largest bridge organization in the world, with more than 160,000 members living in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda.

Now taking place: math education conversation of the hour

"Anything with a square inside a square root cries out for a trig substitution."
- GEIvey, posted to the alt.math.undergrad discussion group

"Travelling Salesman" Movie Premieres


Also coming to Philadelphia this summer, on a silver screen just blocks from the Math Forum office: the premiere of a movie about the most vexing open question in computer science.

In the intellectual thriller "Travelling Salesman," four mathematician characters weigh the ethical implications of their scientific breakthrough — a discovery that might also lead to the destruction of the fabric of humanity. To learn more about the mathematics of traveling salesman problems, check out the Ask Dr. Math conversations

Traveling Salesman Problem: Is there an easy solution to the "Traveling Salesman Problem"?
A Quick Overview of P vs. NP Problems: Can you explain what P and NP problems are at a level that a high school student can understand?

The team behind "Travelling Salesman" has credits that range from the London Film School to the Cannes International Film Festival to Philadelphia's own Temple University. Admission to the debut, Saturday, 16 June, is free on a first-come, first-served basis; it then screens at the New York City International Film Festival, in August.

To lend support for a wider distribution deal, writer/director Timothy Lanzone asks moviegoers to follow "Travelling Salesman" on the social media sites



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