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ASA at 175 – Spread the Word: April is Math Awareness Month

By Ronald Wasserstein posted 04-10-2014 09:37


April is Mathematics Awareness Month (MAM), and you will thoroughly enjoy a visit to the MAM website to explore “Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery,” the 2014 MAM theme.  In fact, I recommend you suspend reading this blog for a bit, click on the MAM link, and go have some fun.  Then drop back here for some additional background.

(Time out for some math fun here.)

Welcome back!  By the way, I took my own advice, stopped writing, and explored the site a bit further.  As you noticed, new mathematical secrets are revealed each day throughout April.  Each day can be explored as deeply as you wish to go, so it is entirely possible to spend/squander many hours on these puzzles and activities.  (Trust me, I KNOW!)

Mathematics Awareness Month is a project of the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM). Its goal is to increase public understanding of and appreciation for mathematics.  The four societies involved in JPBM are the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the American Statistical Association (ASA), the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

Each year, one society takes the lead for developing MAM.  MAA is the lead organization.  Special acknowledgement goes to Eve and Bruce Torrence at Randolph-Macon College and Colm Mulcahy at Spelman College for their leadership in developing a superbly entertaining and challenging MAM website.

The American Statistical Association takes the lead in US presidential election years, as it turns out.  That being the case, the first ASA-led MAM was in 2008 on the topic of “Mathematics and Voting.”  In 2012, we looked at “big data” under the theme “Mathematics, Statistics, and the Data Deluge.”  We’re already beginning to think about a theme for 2016, so if you have ideas, please drop me a note (

Statistics, like many other fields, owes a great deal to mathematics, which Gauss called the “queen of the sciences.”  We join our colleagues in the mathematics community in promoting Mathematics Awareness Month, in complete agreement that better understanding of and appreciation for math is a very good thing indeed.  Please help us spread the word about “Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery.”

In 2014, the American Statistical Association is celebrating its 175th anniversary.  Over the course of this year, this blog will highlight aspects of that celebration, and look broadly at the ASA and its activities.  Please contact ASA Executive Director Ron Wasserstein ( if you would like to post an entry to this blog.