Guests of Honour

Dr. James Tanton

Prof. Mark Saul

Dr. James Tanton (PhD. Mathematics, Princeton University, 1994) is a research mathematician deeply interested in bridging the gap between the mathematics experienced by school students and the creative mathematics practiced and explored by mathematicians. He worked as a college professor for a decade, as a high-school teacher for a decade, and is now the Mathematician in Residence at the Mathematical Association of America in Washington D.C.

The INIFNITY program, organized by the Aditya Birla World Academy and BITS Pilani, is far more than a competition. It is an uplifting and intensely joyous celebration of mathematics. It is a platform that embraces and honours the entire, genuine mathematical experience and welcomes one and all to it.

Many in society equate mathematics with computation and practical application. To be competent in mathematics is to have speed facility with numbers, they say, along with an adept ability to recall and apply multiple algorithms and techniques. Yet many in the field equate mathematics with careful, slow, deliberate thinking and the ability to be playful and innovative with ideas, to ask and probe new questions, to invent new tweaks on old questions, to be intensely creative, and to explore the absurd.

Sine and cosine are called the “circle functions” because they track the height and “overness” of a point moving along a circle. Okay then, can we track the motion of a point on a square and create the squine and cosquine functions?

Where might such an idea lead? Let’s find out!

This is why I have been traveling across the globe to visit Infinity year after year. It’s a lively, intensely fun, robust play of math intellect and artistry, with all aspects of mathematics thinking and doing welcomed and rewarded. If your style of mathematics is akin to that of a creative artist, welcome to Infinity! If your style of mathematics is prone to deep mulling and thoughtful inquiry, welcome to Infinity! If your style of mathematics embraces quick action, welcome to Infinity! If you are all these things, in different ways, at different times—that is, if you are your own human being playing with mathematics—you’ve got it … welcome to Infinity!

And allow me to personally welcome you here.

Dr James Tanton

A person in a red shirt

 Mark Saul has had a long career as educator, author, program director, and consultant in mathematics education.  His experiences include directing the American Mathematics Competitions, the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, and the Center for Mathematical Talent at New York University.  He has served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation, on the executive board of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, as president of the American Regions Mathematics League, and as Director of the Research Science Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He has been a coordinator (i.e. judge) for the International Mathematical Olympiad for the past ten years. 

Dr. Saul has consulted in gifted education for the John Templeton Foundation and for programs in Bulgaria, China, Taiwan, Ghana, Botswana, India, Saudi Arabia, Israel, among other countries around the world.  He spent 35 years as a classroom teacher, grades 3 through 12. 

Dr. Saul has published 16 books (including translating and editing) and numerous articles and problem columns.  The books include Trigonometry (with I.M. Gelfand), Algebraic Inequalities (with Titu Andreescu), Camp Logic (with Sian Zelbo), and translations of Jacques Hadamard’s Elementary Geometry and Vladimir Arnold’s Experimental Mathematics. 

Saul grew up in the Bronx (New York City), and received his degrees from Columbia University and New York University.