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The Science of Chance

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Our webinar on the “Science of Chance” with the probability expert, Dr. Santosh Venkatesh, Professor, Electrical and Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), on May 22, 2020, was a great example of how mathematics should be experienced in classrooms. From mapping the beginnings of civilizations 5000 years ago to studying the yesteryear presidential election polls of the USA, and finally, to understanding our current pandemic crisis – the beauty and the mystery of probability unfolded in very exciting contexts.

Key Highlights 

  • Representing the emergence of modern cities mathematically
  • Studying the behavior patterns of pandemics
  • Understanding connectivity graphs
  • Cracking opinion polls for policymaking
  • Questioning the efficacy of social isolation during outbreaks

Dr. Venkatesh’s teaching methodology had an astounding impact on students who agreed on its efficacy as opposed to a “learn the formulas” model used in schools & colleges today. Most of our dislike for mathematics arises from the popular belief that it is a subject that was invented or one that should be memorized. When, in reality, it is a stylized discovery of the workings of the vast universe. Therefore, a firm understanding of the concepts is the key to unlocking its great potential as a tool.

Dr. Santosh Venkatesh

Dr. Venkatesh, who is a member of Atria University’s academic team, believes in a broad and liberal system of education. A system in which teaching methodologies adapt and students are able to have a broad base across many disciplines and a charter to excel in at least one. This allows the students to grasp concepts with interest, to gauge and attack problems efficiently, to verify and understand the results, and finally to project extensions of those concepts to solve real-world problems.

Dr. Santosh Venkatesh has been teaching at UPenn since 1986, where he has also served as Chair of the Faculty Senate. He is a recipient of the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, the University of Pennsylvania’s highest teaching honor.

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