This piece is about math but please give it a chance anyway

Andy Downing
A math demonstration

Admit it: At some point in your life, at least, you despised math. In fact, many of you probably still do. You might even be wondering what made you click on an article where the word “math” appears in the headline. Heck, it’s possible that you’re already scanning your open browser tabs, looking for a way out of here.

Hold on at least a few moments longer, though, because Monica Delgado Carrillo understands where you’re coming from.

“In general, every time I say, ‘math,’ people are like, ‘Oh, I hated math. I was so bad at math in school.’ It is such a common response,” said Delgado Carrillo, who will give a presentation dubbed “The Gift of Math” during the Columbus Science Pub at Up Front at Shadowbox Live on Thursday, Dec. 5. “When I was in middle school, I was good at math, but I was also a teenager, so I hated math. Then when I was in high school, I started participating in the Math Olympiad, and that’s what drew me in to know a deeper side of it, and not just what they teach you in school.”

Before Delgado Carrillo could dive in and share this passion with an audience, though, she had to go shopping, purchasing nails, screws, wire, acrylic sheets and “a bunch of little sticks,” as she unscientifically described them, which will be used to make geometric frames that can be used to create mathematical bubbles that help playfully demonstrate complex principles. (Attendees will also experiment with constructing paper Mobius strips.)

“When I was in college, I participated in these science fairs and learned to do these demonstrations, and I liked how for the first time I saw people enjoying math,” said Delgado Carrillo, who received her undergraduate degree from Mexico’s Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas (CIMAT) and her master’s degree from the University of British Columbia. She currently works as the associate director for outreach for Buckeye Aha! Math Moments (BAMM), a new outreach program within Ohio State’s mathematics department. “I loved sharing it with people, because these are things that I know people are amazed by, and they all go, ‘Is this really math? Is this possible?’ You’d get a lot of ‘wow’ expressions.”

Andy's greatest math team accomplishment at St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron (go Fighting Irish) was designing T-shirts for the crew that read, "Property of the Irish Mathletic Department." Yes, he's still proud. Sign up for our daily newsletter

While Delgado Carrillo is comfortable delving into complex theoretical discussions about hypercubes and abstract mathematical fields, as she did when asked about those deeper mathematical elements to which she found herself drawn beginning in high school, she intends to keep things a bit more playful at the Science Pub.

“The concept is [to discuss] science in a very informal environment, almost like standup comedy, where you’re talking about serious science in a way where people don’t feel threatened by it,” said Delgado Carrillo, who attended the monthly event in October and jumped at the chance to participate when approached by organizers. “I think showing a nicer, gentler side of math helps with that math anxiety. … Math is used a lot in our world, especially with technology, so it’s very important to our modern lives, even if we often don’t realize it.”

Up Front at Shadowbox Live

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5

503 S. Front St., Brewery District

"The Gift of Math"