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2021 National Math Festival Online Events

2021 National Math Festival - "Infinite Powers: The Story of Calculus" with Dr. Steven Strogatz

Everyone has heard of calculus, but why is it so important? In this talk, Dr. Strogatz will try to clarify the fantastic idea at the heart of calculus. With the help of pictures and stories, he’ll trace where calculus came from and then show how it – in partnership with medicine, philosophy, science, and technology – reshaped the course of civilization and helped make the world modern. This talk is intended for everyone, whether you’ve taken calculus or not, and whether you like math or not. By the end, he hopes to convince you that calculus is one of the greatest triumphs of human creativity ever.

Dr. Steven Strogatz has blogged about math for the New York Times and has been a frequent guest on Radiolab and Science Friday. His latest book, Infinite Powers, was a New York Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize.

A renowned teacher and communicator, Strogatz is a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell University. His podcast with Quanta Magazine, The Joy of X, opens a window into the inner worlds of top-tier scientists and mathematicians while shining light on universal themes such as creativity, collaboration, and navigating professional challenges.


The National Math Festival brings together some of the most fascinating mathematicians of our time to inspire and challenge participants of all ages to see math in new and exciting ways. The 2021 Festival took place April 16-18, 2021. Find us at This event is organized by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI),

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