Denison University’s 178th Commencement took place on Saturday, May 18. Watch the ceremony in its entirety including commencement keynote speaker Jennifer Garner ’94.
Mathematics is an exciting and fundamental part of a liberal arts education. Mathematics majors at Denison learn skills that prepare them for life.
One such skill is the ability to think logically and abstractly. Mathematicians search for similar patterns in seemingly different settings and then strive to communicate those patterns with precise logic. These skills translate to many fields of study. Mathematics majors are highly sought after by law schools, for example, because they can make strong arguments and see the similarities in different branches of law.
Another skill we teach is the ability to think creatively. Mathematics is a creative process, not a mechanical one. For example, finding the circumference of a circle with the formula 2πr is simply a calculation; the discovery of π was (ancient) mathematics. Likewise, the discovery of Calculus was a great feat of Mathematics, but applying Calculus to find the acceleration of an object is not. Mathematicians discover new and bizarre branches of mathematics every day. Most of these, like Knot Theory or Quantum Information Theory, are completely different from Calculus. What can you dream up?
Mathematics majors at Denison also learn to solve a broad array of real world problems. What inventory strategy will maximize profit for a business? How can we predict the spread of an infectious disease? What voting systems are fair? How can we predict the orbit of planets around the sun? Who is the best player in the NBA? The method for solving these problems is a process is called modeling. The goal is to translate a real world question into a powerful computational language that gives insight into the problem. Once this is done, predictions can be made and tested and a practical problem solving strategy can be recommended. What big problem will you solve?
At Denison, we teach Mathematics majors to think across disciplines. There is no subject on earth that has not been studied with mathematics. At a math conference, there are talks involving every subject in the course catalogue. No matter where your interests lie, there is a mathematical research project on that subject waiting for you.
Math majors and Math faculty at Denison form a tight community. We offer many stimulating social and academic extracurricular opportunities (see a list here and here). We go to conferences and talks together, play games together, stay up all night together, and solve problems together. We (the faculty) are always available and we care about you. Math majors live in Olin hall and work together constantly. Our department is a supportive community that our graduates never forget.