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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Adult courses

Mathematically Informed: The Use and the Abuse of Mathematical Models

Week 3: July 22-28, 2018

There is still space available in this program.
Register now!

In this class we will explore, with abundant examples, the application of mathematics to other domains, including social inquiry, voting systems, finance, law, medicine, game theory, economics, environmental change, and more. What do people accomplish (or think they accomplish) when they apply mathematics to non-mathematical areas?

We will attempt to determine why some of these uses of mathematical models work and why others fail. Why, for example, did Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes succeed so beautifully in their use of principles of geometry, while the Long-Term Capital Management fund (run according to exact mathematical formulas and algorithms) collapsed in the middle of a global financial crisis? Through lectures, readings, and discussion, we will analyze some of the fallacious thinking about mathematics and perhaps become wiser consumers of information.

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


Once you've registered, we'll send you materials on the academic program and other information to help you prepare for CAU. A $50 per person, per class, non-refundable deposit is required with your registration. All deposits are applied to the full program charges. Register now!

Program charges

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

For those staying on campus, the program fee (per adult, per week) covers the course, lodging, sixteen meals, coffee breaks, hospitality hours, welcome and farewell parties, conference-lot parking fees, and use of most of Cornell’s campus facilities. Some courses have additional fees. Wednesday supper is on your own. Some campus facilities, such as the golf course, also charge specific user fees. Weekly program rates vary with the accommodation you select:

Program fee including on-campus housing and meals

  • Court/Kay Hall: double occupancy per adult $1,932, single supplement $100
  • Room w/private bathroom: double occupancy per adult $1,990, single supplement $150

Program fee for commuters and for those staying at Hilton Homewood Suites*: $1,115

*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: $425. Most CAUers staying at Hilton Homewood Suites select our meal plan for the week in order to enjoy the full CAU experience.