Everyone who works with Mathematics knows how difficult it is to talk about what we do with the general public. Language, this powerful tool that allows mathematicians to accurately define their objects of study, soon becomes a hindrance to communication if the interlocutor does not dominate it. This is one of the reasons why lectures on mathematics aimed to a large public are so rare. Even for undergraduate students in Mathematics and related fields, there are not many topics that can be addressed.
Since 2003, with the support of the IME, USP's Undergraduate Office, USP’s Culture Office and CNPq, Matemateca Team has been working on the creation of interactive “mathematical objects”: one possible way to break the barriers to the communication of Mathematics. The first ambition was to build a collection that would support and encourage the learning of our undergraduate students. After some initial paralysis, our collection began to take form. Taking part in exhibitions to the general public (children included), we realized that our material aroused the public curiosity and could be an interesting and fun vehicle for the popularization of mathematics outside the University.
Our collection grew and, fortunately, our “idea for new project” folder grew even more. In addition to a lot of work, we were very fortunate to have colleagues from the IME, to suggest and discuss new ideas and approaches. In particular, we rely on the work of the craftsmen Rodolpho Zukauskas and Carlos Cuba, who made many of our objects and always knew how to understand our projects, however crazy they seemed. Since 2013, Matemateca has become a center (Centro de Difusão e Ensino Matemateca). The objects of the collection are exhibited at least once a year but we also do several mini-exhibitions inside USP and beyond. Some objects of the collection are exhibited by IME-USP (cafeteria, tea room, corridors) and the staff is always willing to exchange ideas and show other objects of interest.
Through this site, we try to show a little of our work and, perhaps, to inspire other ideas for the making of objects that show Mathematics "in action". We would like to encourage and help fellow professors and teachers to use mathematical experiences in the classroom.
Mathematics is beautiful, instigating, powerful, and its languages are many. Our ambition is to try to show a little of this grandeur!
Team of the Matemateca
Director: Eduardo Colli, Prof. Doctor from the Department of Applied Mathematics at IME-USP
Deputy Director: Deborah Raphael, Profa. Dr. from the Mathematics Department of IME-USP
Lucia Satie Ikemoto, Prof. Dr. from the Mathematics Department of IME-USP
Sonia Garcia, Prof. Dr. from the Department of Applied Mathematics at IME-USP
Airlane Pereira de Alencar, Profa. Dra. at the Department of Statistics of IME-USP
Leonidas de Oliveira Brandão, Prof. Doctor from the Department of Computer Science at IME-USP
Collaborating Professor: Artur Simões Rozestraten, Prof. doctor from the Department of Architecture Technology at FAU-USP
Partnership: Laboratory of Models and Tests of FAU-USP (LAME) - hosts "our" discipline (MAP2001 - Mathematics, Architecture and Design) and collaborates with several projects
Teachers who have already been part of the team:
Barbara Valerio, Prof. Dr. from the Mathematics Department of IME-USP
Elvia Sallum, Prof. Dr. from the Mathematics Department of IME-USP
Rosa Maria B. Chaves, Prof. Dr. from the Mathematics Department of IME-USP