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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Adult courses

Great Mathematical Ideas: Their Context and Impact

Week 2: July 12-18, 2015

The registration period for this program has passed.
Please contact us if you have any questions.

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Logarithms, curious curves, fractals, calculus, logical fallacies, and paradoxes. These and many other mathematical concepts and methods have contributed greatly to the development of science and civilization.

Mircea Pitici, engaging and accessible professor of mathematics and editor of the annual The Best Writing on Mathematics, will guide our study of these momentous discoveries.

Using a wealth of examples, Mircea will reveal for us the history of some of the biggest aha! moments in mathematics, clarifying the rich context of ideas out of which they emerged and illuminating their transformative power.

We'll explore the meaning, historic roots, and contemporary impact of mathematics in everyday life, from the optimal arrangement of oranges on a fruit stand to the working of the Internet.

You need no background in mathematics to take and enjoy this class; just bring an open and curious mind.

Mircea Pitici

Mircea has taught mathematics courses and writing seminars at Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Wells College. He received a teaching award from the Cornell Department of Mathematics in 2011 and the Buttrick-Crippen Scholarship awarded by the Knight Institute of Writing... > more


Registration is closed for this class. Please contact CAU if you have questions.

Program charges

Below are the program fees and housing choices for the on-campus summer programs. Please contact us if you have questions.

For adults staying on campus, the program fee (per adult, per week) includes the course, lodging, fifteen all-you-care-to-eat meals, banquet dinner, coffee breaks, hospitality hours, evening lectures, walks and talks, welcome and farewell receptions, conference-lot parking fees, and use of most of Cornell’s campus facilities. Some courses have additional fees as noted. Wednesday dinner is on your own. Some campus facilities, such as the golf course, also charge specific user fees.

Standard room, on-campus housing, and meals

$1,970 double occupancy, $100 single supplement

Standard room, on-campus housing with exclusive bath, and meals

$2,030 double occupancy, $150 single supplement

Course fee for commuters and those staying at Hilton Homewood Suites

$1,285. This fee does not include housing or meals. If you wish to stay at Hilton Homewood Suites, please call 607.266.0000 to make a reservation in the CAU block.

Commuter meal plan option

$327. Most CAUers staying at Hilton Homewood Suites select our meal plan for the week in order to enjoy the full CAU experience. It includes six breakfasts, five lunches, and four dinners.