Vic Selby has joined the Lyceum for the 2nd time to teach "Games Theory, Classic and Cosmic Puzzles, and the Powers and Limits of Human Imagination". With a degree in physics and engineering, Vic subtly expressed his aversion to a life spent in a laboratory, meticulously calculating each decision. This career path did not seem nearly as rewarding as working with kids. Consequently, he taught math at Carmel High School for 30 years. Vic is the author of Mathematics And the Human Condition and is currently a curriculum consultant.
This course is being taught to 8 middle school students and will explore various types of non-video games. With this week being the first of six classes, this blog entry will not fully encapsulate the true essence of this exciting course. In reading the syllabus I am impressed with its extensive framework along with the intimidating feeling similar to reading a foreign language. Exercises included are the "paradox box", "undercut vs. extended tic-tac", "humble-Nishiyama game", "finding the constant", "finding the size of the earth", "speed of light", "distance to the moon", and many many more. Each session ends with the chance to solve some of the best puzzles and conundrums from ancient times to the present, including “The Prisoners' Dilemma”.
In addition, students participate in team and individual competitions from the simplest to the most mind-bending. Subsequent classes will include an introduction to the largest and smallest numbers known that describe our universe, and will show how the idea of proportions rules our modern world. Teams will be given the opportunity to create their own games, both games of pure strategy and “real” games involving luck and bluffing.
The vision for this class is to be a captivating, fun and innovative experience while exploring some of the most awe-inspiring ideas and discoveries of mathematics and science. In observing the impressive participation from the students on the first day, we foresee highly active engagement among the bright young minds.
With all this said, MATH RULES!