The Pleasure Principle in Undergraduate Mathematics

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The Pleasure Principle

in Undergraduate Mathematics

Professor Bill Barton

Inaugural lecture

6pm, 12 April 2010

Room 1439, Engineering Building, Ground Floor, 20 Symonds Street


  • 6pm. Drinks in the Neon Foyer, Ground floor, 20 Symonds Street
  • 6:30-7:30pm. Talk in Room Eng1439, Ground floor, 20 Symonds Street


Mathematicians speak like addicts about their subject: deep mathematical knowledge is a source of intense and intimate pleasure. What would the undergraduate experience look like if we directed our efforts at getting students addicted?

Relying on research rather than tradition to guide practice, I propose a design for tempting undergraduates into deep mathematical engagement.


Parking is available at $5 per night at the Owen Glenn building in Grafton Rd very near the intersection with Symonds St (about a 3 minute walk from the Engineering building).

Invited speaker(s)

Bill Barton


All welcome. The talk is aimed at a general audience


Free entry.


Department of Mathematics, University of Auckland

About the speaker

Prior to joining the Department of Mathematics in 1993, Bill Barton worked in secondary schools, including a bilingual Māori-English unit. He also presented the television show “Phew Maths” in the early 1980s. He now specialises in ethnomathematics, specifically the relationship between mathematics and language. As a lecturer of mathematics, his interests also lie in university-level education.

In 2010 he became president of ICMI, the world body of mathematics education and leads the ICMI/IMU Klein Project. This project attempts to present the field of research in the mathematical sciences to secondary school teachers in a way that will challenge and inspire them to better introduce mathematics to their students.

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