UW Math Day

Campus Field Trips / Tours

Since capacity is limited, access to the field trips and tours below require a ticket from each student participating.
These activities are located in a variety of campus locations so each is assigned one or more, UW volunteer/s to assist in getting the visiting students to the correct place on-time.  The UW volunteer meets the group before the session, walks with them to the ticketed activity and then back to Kane after the session.

Students who do not have a ticket should proceed directly to the Activity/Field Trip standby line located in front of Kane Hall. If a field trip or activity still has spots for more students before they depart, the group volunteer will stop at the standby line. Students will then be added starting from the front and working to the back.  UW Math Day staff members will manage the standby line. Often space is available so students in line should be prepared to raise their hand and speak up if the activity of interest is offered. Students waiting in the standby line are not guaranteed access to their desired field trip or activity.

Adult teachers or chaperones who need to join a group for the purpose of supervising their students but do not have a ticket, should check with the staff member managing the standby line before the session.

If you end up with tickets you know you will not use, please give them to a staff member at the registration desk or at the standby line.

Applied Physics Lab (All Sessions) – The North Polar ice cap has thinned by 30% in the last 20 years. Internal bleeding can be stopped, tumors can be “cooked,” and kidney stones can be pulverized—all with ultrasound. An underwater glider literally glides untethered through the ocean without a propeller and can remain underway for up to six months collecting oceanographic data, traveling from the west coast of the United States mainland to Hawaii. A new project is underway placing fiber optic cables and oceanographic and geophysical instruments on the small tectonic plate off the coast of Washington and Oregon called the Juan de Fuca plate enabling anyone to look in on the ocean and seafloor off our coast. The science, engineering, and mathematics behind these discoveries and devices will be presented and/or demonstrated. The actual topics covered will depend on the availability of personnel and equipment.

Campus Tours (All Sessions) – Tour the University of Washington campus.

Computer Science & Engineering Tour (All Sessions) – Come explore the CSE building! Take a tour with with one of our students, learn what it’s like to study computer science and engineering in this top-ranked department, and see where students spend their time.

How to Count the Hairs on your Head (Sessions I & II) – We’ll see how to estimate some very large physical quantities that one may want to know, such as the number of hairs on your head, fish in the ocean, and aliens in outer space. Then we will consider some record-setting quantities in nature, like lengths of the world’s longest rivers and heights of the tallest giraffes. Finally, we will use a similarity between making big estimates and measuring record-setters to get an easy test to tell apart bogus from real data.

Knights and Liars (Sessions II & III) – During the lecture, students will work on the collection of logical problems of increasing difficulty about liars and knights, princesses and tigers, and so on. We’ll be using these problems to explore certain aspects of mathematical logic: elements of Boolean algebra, logical operators, truth tables.

Mathematical Card Tricks (Sessions I & II) – Learn how to impress your friends and family with a deck of cards and your brain.  No sleight of hand is necessary, just some clever math. The ideas involved are based on a relatively young field of mathematics called Combinatorics. Combinatorics is the study of discrete objects, counting arrangements of those objects, and optimizing their properties.

Mathematician Scavenger Hunt at the Mathematics Research Library (Session I & II) – Search for mathematicians and their books while learning great biographical information and how to use a college library. Working in teams, you will search the book stacks and computers to find the works of selected mathematicians from around the world!

Paper Origami (All Sessions) – The class will introduce students to a process that allows us to fold spherical models from one sheet of paper. Students will fold two to three models depending on time and skills.

Planetarium (All Sessions) – Come explore astronomy at the UW planetarium! Learn about the night sky, stars, galaxies and the planets in our solar system. Get an up close look at nebulae and galaxies, or zoom out to the farthest edges of the universe, all on a 30 foot dome with an all-digital system powered by Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope.

Plasma – The Fourth State of Matter (All Sessions) – Plasma is a super-heated gas that has unique electromagnetic and fluid properties, which make it relevant to fusion energy, and advanced space propulsion, photolithography, and astrophysical jets. The ZaP Flow Z-pinch experiment at the University of Washington explores an innovative plasma confinement concept that uses the JxB force to compress and a sheared flow to stabilize an otherwise unstable plasma. Because the plasma temperature easily exceeds 1 million degrees, highly advanced instruments must be used to make measurements without perturbing the plasma.

Problems and a Piece of Paper (Sessions II & III)  What really is mathematics? We will attempt to answer this question by exploring the history of origami, and by creating our own conjectures through a hands-on paper folding activity.

SAGE Computer Lab (All Sessions) Sage is built out of nearly 100 open-source packages and features a unified interface. Sage can be used to study elementary and advanced, pure and applied mathematics. This includes a huge range of mathematics, including basic algebra, calculus, elementary to very advanced number theory, cryptography, numerical computation, commutative algebra, group theory, combinatorics, graph theory, exact linear algebra and much more. It combines various software packages and seamlessly integrates their functionality into a common experience. It is well-suited for education and research. Visit  www.sagemath.org

Seismology Lab (All Sessions) – Visit the home of the largest seismic network in the United States outside California. The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) operates a real time network of 250 seismometers in Washington and Oregon monitoring earthquake activity and the Cascade Volcanoes as a partner agency of the Cascade Volcano Observatory.