Interview with Pamela Clute About Educational Outreach Progr

Uploaded by ucriverside on 28.09.2009

[Pomerance] Welcome to Local Edition, I'm Brad Pomerance, thanks for joining us. Our guest is Pam
Clute, Pam is a professor and vice- provost at UC Riverside. I am so
glad you're here, you brought so many things for us to look at.
We are here to talk about mathematics.
As you know, I am the father of two daughters, five and seven, I am so concerned about
how they are treated in terms of learning math. Talk to me. [Clute] Well, I have to tell you
mathematics is my passion and my role in life, as I see it, is to help young girls
as well as understand and enjoy the power of mathematics. It's everywhere in their
world, it's everywhere in their life and if we can give them the self-confidence,
give them the ability to do mathematics and enjoy it at the same time, I think it will
serve us well as a community. [Pomerance] Yeah! And my daughter, my eldest specifically, loves
projects - art projects - and these projects right here,
would be so perfect for them because they would see that math will drive you
and art is a part of it. [Clute] Absolutely, and one of the keys to hooking young women
into the study of mathematics
is through interdisciplinary ideas, such as...
English and history and art and so forth.
These art projects around me are branch of mathematics called computational
origami. An engineer studied this particular branch and designed the airbag
which packs neatly into the steering wheel of our automobile and then
activates when it's necessary for a crash accident. [Pomerance] And I think about my daughters
now, who play those games, that kind of
flip back and forth with the numbers, and so you can really incorporate math
into everyday life.
Why is it professor,
that girls
are treated less than, when it comes to science and math in K-12?
[Clute] You know, I think that... the young women certainly have the ability to do
mathematics, but what they lack is the passion and the interest to do
mathematics, and you have to have both
to be successful.
And one of the ways you create interest in anyone that is studying, is
through making mathematics
relevant and purposeful.
When I look at mathematical ideas, such as this circle,
I have to tell you the circle is an idea that people have learned for centuries,
as is the triangle,
as is the trapezoid, as is the rhombus, as is the teeny tiny triangle,
but when the flaps
are opened up, it creates a shape called the tetrahedron.
And the reason this is relevant to girls or boys or anybody on the planet, is
this is the shape of many of the satellites
that bring reception to your cell phone,
and to me, if you can
come up with a mathematical idea, tie it to something in life that is purposeful to
your everyday living, you're gonna hook someone into this further study of that
field. [Pomerance] And you have
some... straws
that you brought. [Clute] I did! [Pomerance] And show us what those are and how we can turn, just
a beautiful design, into math science. [Clute] This is actually called an icosahedron, and
it is the shape
of the two hundred viruses that cause the common cold,
and the reason shape is important, is because the biochemist need
to know something about shape
in order to design the drugs
that relieve the symptoms caused by the cold, and the mathematics, of course, is
part of that design and shape. [Pomerance] And I think so many of us think about some of the
great inventors and they just presume they are men.
And you know what?
They're not.
There are a lot wonderful, incredibly accomplished women
who have brought us some of the great inventions of the world. List a few. [Clute] Well,
the one that comes to my mind is Margaret Knight,
who designed the brown paper bag... machine that puts together these bags
that we put our groceries in and take to our automobiles after we shop at the
store. Madame Curie gave us radium, which is used in the treatment of cancer today.
Dorothy Crowfoot
... Hodgkin... discovered the structure behind vitamin B-12 and
that led to a cure in pernicious anemia.
Car mufflers,
Kevlar - the substance use to strengthen bulletproof vests - can openers, submarine
telescopes, those all sprung from the minds of women. [Pomerance] In our final moments, what
would you tell a parent, like myself, with two young daughters, that you want to
make sure are treated appropriately as it relates to math science. [Clute] I would say that
self-confidence is the number one feature in getting kids to enjoy
mathematics. So parents, be supportive of your children.
Teachers, be engaging of
the activities you use with your young girls to motivate them to further study.
[Pomerance] Pam Clute, you're great! [Clute] Thank you! [Pomerance] and I'm so glad you came. Thanks for joining us.
For Charters Local Edition, I'm Brad Pomerance, back to CNN Headline