On Sunday, September 4, 2011, the IMA joined the excitement of the Minnesota State Fair. Their exhibit featured first- and second-year post-docs currently in residence at the institute. The booth featured various kid-friendly math activities, from learning about tsunami prediction to cracking a code using an interactive cryptography activity. In addition, a homemade wooden map of Minnesota—with nails as points of interest and a piece of string for measurement—was used as a game to illustrate the famous Traveling Salesman Problem. The postdocs and staff had a lot of fun, sharing their stories and meeting friendly faces at the fair.
"Our booth’s theme 'Math is the Answer,' illustrated how we use math to address challenges facing health, the environment, and national security," IMA director Fadil Santosa explained.
Because of math we can predict and study the weather and send encrypted information over the internet.
"It is important to share the message that mathematics opens the door to new discoveries that simply could not have been found without it," Santosa added.
First-time state fairgoer and IMA second-year post-doc Yulia Hristova enjoyed interacting with booth visitors.
"The kids really enjoyed the cryptography activity. They were able to have fun, create a 'Math is cool' message, and learn a little about this important area of mathematics at the same time," she said.