Julia Robinson Math Festival celebrates mathematics in Maine

June 17, 2013 by  

The University of New England hosted the annual Julia Robinson Math Festival to help people celebrate math, making it the first year that the celebration has been held in New England. Robinson was known as a pioneer for math, attending Berkeley’s University of California, and was also the first female to become the American Mathematical Society’s president.

Robinson died when she was 65 years old in 1985 but her friends wanted to keep the interest in math going by introducing the festival. Sheila Wells, who is a co-ordinator for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, heard about the festival and brought it to Maine this year.

Sara Zito, the assistant superintendent of RSU 21, was carrying out research for STEM when she discovered information of the festival on the website of Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Initially, the festivals were hosted at the headquarters of Google, reserved for students. However, there are now more middle and high schools becoming involved with the Julia Robinson Math Festival.

A teacher at Consolidated School, Jennifer Humphrey ,said the festival helped children to be more creative in their thinking. Zito added that people may not realize that they love math unless they try it.

It is likely that the festival was promoted in local areas, using stationery printing skills to produce information and details of the festival, its location, and when it would be held. Planning commenced last year for this year’s festival and the University of New England was happy to host it.