National festival calling all math lovers

Head to Washington, D.C., next weekend for your share of numerical fun

Math is more than studying. A new festival brings out the fun.

Math is more than studying. A new festival brings out the fun.

Pranav/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Math can be challenging. Indeed, many people love to hate it. But math is an important part of our world. April is Math Awareness Month. This year, there’s a new U.S. festival to help us celebrate it.

Without math, we’d have no jet engines to power our airplanes and no computers to play with. Math is used to makemovie magic, sculpture and more. On April 18, 2015, the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., will be filled with math. The museums around the Washington Mall will host this festival, featuring an obstacle course, treasure hunts, art exhibits games, and puzzles — all based on a mathematical theme.  Experts will give provide examples of how number-based calculations affect our lives and showcase math-based skills such as computer programming — how we instruct computers about what to do.

The fest is free and suitable for all ages. It is sponsored by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, the Institute for Advanced Study and the Smithsonian Institution.

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Power Word

(for more about Power Words, click here)

computer program  A set of instructions that a computer uses to perform some analysis or computation. The writing of these instructions is known as computer programming.

Bethany Brookshire was a longtime staff writer at Science News Explores and is the author of the book Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology and likes to write about neuroscience, biology, climate and more. She thinks Porgs are an invasive species.