Pi In The Sky

2002 Winner: Excellence In Science And Technology Public Awareness

A new publication called “Pi in the Sky” is helping promote mathematics to high-school students. “Pi in the Sky” is produced semi-annually under the leadership of the University of Alberta’s Dr. Wieslaw Krawcewicz. The purpose of the publication is to promote mathematics, programs in the mathematical sciences and related careers. In spite of the growing demand for highly trained people, few students actually consider the mathematical sciences as a career option. Dr. Krawcewicz felt it was unfortunate that talented young people in this country are, for the most part, unaware of the importance of obtaining a proper mathematical education.

Although his idea was initially greeted with skepticism, his determination and persistence paid off, and “Pi in the Sky” has been received with enthusiastic interest, by teachers and students alike. “Pi in the Sky” helps establish direct contact with teachers and students and increases the involvement of high school students in mathematical science. The idea is to establish a dialogue between students, teachers and academics, elaborating on new and innovative teaching methods. The publication is also working to change negative stereotypes associated with mathematical sciences.

The magazine features articles written by academics and other math enthusiasts on various topics, including human aspects of the history of mathematics, interesting applications of mathematics to real-life problems, important mathematical methods and problem-solving techniques of various difficulty levels. Moreover, it also includes mathematical humor, folklore, jokes, cartoons, and personal observations about mathematics and mathematical education. “Pi in the Sky”, under the sponsorship of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, reaches all high schools in Alberta and BC, as well as some junior high schools. It is also distributed in the state of Washington and is available online at www.pims.math.ca/pi/. Thanks to “Pi in the Sky”, many students have discovered the stimulation and challenge of mathematics.