CORVALLIS - About 400 of Oregon's leading mathematicians and math educators are expected to attend a third "mathematics summit" on Oct. 2, aimed at improving classroom instruction and the math skills of the state's K-16 students.

The conference, titled "Teaching and Learning Mathematics in the 21st Century," will be at Oregon State University. It is co-hosted by OSU and Norma Paulus, state superintendent of public instruction.

"The field of mathematics has exploded and schools are struggling to keep pace with the changes," Paulus said when inviting participants to the conference. "Students will need more instruction in mathematics and a deeper understanding of mathematics to succeed in college and work in the 21st century."

This one-day conference will be focused around the presentations of Sir Roger Penrose of Oxford University, a world leader in mathematics, theoretical physicist, cosmologist and philosopher. Besides speaking at the math summit, for which registration is already filled, he will also make a free public address at 7:30 p.m. at OSU's LaSells Stewart Center. It will outline his latest theories about mathematics, physics and the human mind.

The conference for math educators will also feature presentations by Ralph Abraham, professor of mathematics and leading chaos theorist at the University of California at Santa Cruz; and Ivars Peterson, math and physics editor of Science News. Two other leading experts and authors will be available for discussions via the Internet.

Topics will include what mathematics will look like in the next century, how it should be taught, and promising techniques to use in the classroom.

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Maggie Niess, 541-737-4031