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Joseph Mazur

Noon Eastern Time on November 5, 2014

**At the event**

Join the open, free online event in the Math Future series at Natural Math. Dr. Joseph Mazur will talk about his new book, Enlightening Symbols. Come and listen to a short presentation, chat with like-minded people in the audience, and pose questions for Joseph.

**Questions and comments**

You can pose questions and comments to the presenters before the event. To do so, scroll to the end of this description and click "Add comment."

**Enlightening Symbols: A short History of Mathematical Notation and its Hidden Powers**

Hardly any math symbols were used before the sixteenth century. What did mathematicians rely on for their work before then? And how did mathematical notations evolve to what we know of today?
*Enlightening Symbols* explains the fascinating history behind the development of our current mathematical notation system, shows how symbols were used initially, how one symbol replaced another over time, and how written math was conveyed before and after symbols became widely adopted.

"
*A fascinating narrative. . . . This is a nuanced, intelligently framed chronicle packed with nuggets - such as the fact that Hindus, not Arabs, introduced Arabic numerals. In a word: enlightening*." - George Szpiro, *Nature*

"*Mazur begins by illustrating how the ancient Incas and Mayans managed to write specific, huge numbers. Then, for more than 200 pages, he traces the history of division signs, square roots, pi, exponents, graph axes and other symbols in the context of cognition, communication, and analysis*." -*Washington Post*

"*Mazur delivers a solid exposition of an element of mathematics that is fundamental to its history*." -*Library Journal*

**About Joseph Mazur**

Joseph Mazur is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Marlboro College where he has taught a wide range of classes in all areas of mathematics, its history and philosophy. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from M.I.T., is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences, among others. He has authored many educational software programs, including Explorations in Calculus, the first interactive, multimedia CD package of simulations for calculus. He is the author of Euclid in the Rainforest: Discovering Universal Truth in Mathematics (Finalist of the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award and chosen as one of Choice's 2005 Outstanding Academic Titles of the Year), The Motion Paradox: The 2,500-Year Old Puzzle Behind All the Mysteries of Time and Space., and What's Luck Got To Do With It?, a book on the history, mathematics and psychology of gambling. His latest book is Enlightening Symbols: A Short History of Mathematical Notation and Its Hidden Powers.

**About Math Future series**

Math Future is an international network of people who care about mathematics education: researchers, developers, teachers, parents, and students. Since 2009, we have organized more than a hundred live online events with leaders of amazing projects.

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