It's no secret U.S. students lag far behind in math compared to dozens of other countries in the developed world, but mathematicians behind a new museum are working to get students back in the race. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
It may not amount to much for some folks, but for former math professor Glen Whitney mathematics equals an infinite number of thrills.
"There are constant surprises, there's constant moments of discovery and that thrill of a-ha! when you see the way something comes together," Whitney said.
Up until recently, Whitney worked as a hedge fund executive but is now busy calculating his next move to open the Museum of Mathematics or MOMATH next year in a 19,000 square foot space in the Flatiron District. It would be the only one of its kind in the country.
"It's not going to be numbers scribbled up on a wall," said Whitney. "It's going to be shapes and how do they fit together and it's going to to be curves that they can either touch or maybe they can drive the model car on."
The idea to build a museum grew out of the"Math Midway," a traveling exhibition featuring more than a dozen interactive exhibits Whitney founded in 2009.
"What I saw was a real cultural problem that we have in this country that math almost has this place within what we do. It's kind of picked on. It's kind of off in the corner," Whitney said.
So far, the museum has raised $22 million with big help from Google, Consolidated Edison and other companies encouraging learning through science, technology, engineering and math.
"We have corporations that are supporting us primarily because they see it as a benefit to them in the long term, that if we can get kids to come in and get excited about math that those children will become the employees of tomorrow that will help their institutions be productive," said Museum of Mathematics COO Cindy Lawrence.
For more information on the museum and its current programs, visit momath.org.
The "Connect A Million Minds" initiative encourages school programs designed to inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math. For more information, visit connectamillionminds.com.