EDUCATION: Math on the Move

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Science  23 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5512, pp. 2281b
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5512.2281b

Mathematics may be the queen of the sciences, as Carl Friedrich Gauss famously said, but you'd never know it from the legions of math-phobic undergraduates. The new Journal of Online Mathematics and Its Applications (JOMA) aims to change that by serving up an enticing array of Web-based teaching tools for all levels of college math.

The inaugural issue is devoted to precalculus and calculus “mathlets”: interactive learning tools that let users graph formulas, such as the area under a curve or a predator-prey model of foxes and rabbits. JOMA also plans to post dazzling graphics, such as this animation: A series of surfaces called hyperboloids morph together with small changes in one parameter in the defining formulas. “With computer tools, what mathematicians see only in their minds, other people can see for real,” notes founding editor David A. Smith of Duke University. He hopes to put out a new issue every few months.


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