Mathema Foundation to be formally launched on World Maths Day – 3 March 2021
A collection of more than 5,000 rare and important mathematics books and other artefacts will soon be accessible through a new charity foundation established by two of Australia’s leading mathematics educators.
The Mathema Foundation, formed this year and to be formally launched on World Maths Day (3 March 2021) by Brisbane’s Dr Calvin and Rosemary Irons, provides a home for the thousands of artefacts and ideas the couple has collected or created over their collective 120 years of work in the disciplines of mathematics and mathematics education.
Teachers, students and those interested in the history of mathematics can join the foundation and access the materials.
“The overall aim of the Mathema Foundation, which is a registered educational charity, is to promote good educational practices within the discipline of mathematics,” said Dr Irons, who alongside his wife Rosemary has taught more than 25,000 students at the Queensland University of Technology, conducted at least 2500 professional learning sessions, spoke at over 400 conferences and wrote in excess of 800 books.
“In part, this means sharing high interest, relevant, and unique teaching and reference materials with the wider community.
“While many of these aspects might be available using online tools, the digital medium has many distractions and does not always convey important ideas clearly.”
Dr Irons, who is also the co-founder of Australia’s leading mathematics education company ORIGO Education, said one of the main purposes of the Mathema Foundation, through the assistance of the Irons Family Trust, was to maintain and manage The Mathematics Gallery that is planned for construction at Ocean View, north-west of Brisbane.
“This facility will house mathematics materials – two- and three-dimensional art objects, rare and current books and newspaper items, mathematical tools and resources, and memorabilia – that are suitable for people of all age groups and at all levels of education.
“Some of the books date back to the early 1600s, so they are rare indeed.
“The Gallery will provide an opportunity for everyone to experience the knowledge-enriching power of mathematics – be they young or old visitors, those seeking simple or more technical research material, or educational organisations seeking inspiration for professional development.”
Mrs Irons said the mission of the Mathema Foundation was to involve the wider community in educational experiences to gain greater understanding and knowledge about all aspects of good mathematics.
“To this end, the foundation will strive to provide a forum and a venue to show and share a range of good learning experiences based on old and new mathematical ideas,” she said.
The Irons hope to start construction on the facility mid this year, with a completion by early 2022.