Thursday Think Speaker Series

The MƒA Thursday Think Speaker Series brings accomplished speakers who dive into cutting edge topics in STEM education to MƒA. A unique part of our professional course offerings, these talks, held on a Thursday of every month throughout the school year, invite MƒA teachers and their colleagues, as well as other educators and the general public to learn and engage with these thought leaders and professionals in mathematics, science, and education.

Upcoming Events

September 23 — The Science of Wonder

Paul AndersenFeaturing Paul Andersen

Wonder is one of our greatest emotions. It drives us to build knowledge by asking and then answering questions about our world. Student wonder can be a powerful driver in the classroom as well. However, unstructured inquiry can be frustrating to both teachers and learners alike. In this Thursday Think talk, Paul Andersen will model a three dimensional cycle of inquiry centered on authentic phenomena and problems.

MƒA teachers can register for this event on the Small-World Network. Other guests should please register here

October 7 — Would We Know Life if We Saw It?
Clara Sousa-Silva
Photo credit: Bex Coates

Featuring Clara Sousa-Silva, Ph.D.

Over the last few decades, scientists have found thousands of planets beyond our own. Some of those planets might be habitable, and perhaps even inhabited already; but how can we tell? Dr. Clara Sousa-Silva looks for signs of life on other planets using astronomical tools such as spectroscopy to detect the faint signals emitted by potential alien biospheres. In this Thursday Think talk, Dr. Sousa-Silva will answer the question, “Would we know life if we saw it?” drawing on her experience investigating peculiar molecules on foreign planets, such as the possibility of phosphine on Venus and through her collaborations with students of all ages.

MƒA teachers can register for this event on the Small-World Network. Other guests should please register here.

November 4 — The Mathematics of Card Shuffling

Featuring Francis Su, Ph.D.

Francis SuIt is often said that it takes seven shuffles to mix a deck of cards. What does that mean, and how do we know it to be true? In this Thursday Think talk, Dr. Francis Su explains the key ideas behind this mathematical riddle, including some of the delightful combinatorial insights about the standard riffle shuffle, in which half of the deck is held in each hand and the cards are released by the thumbs so that they fall to the table interleaved. In addition, he will demonstrate a selection of card “tricks” based on the mathematics of card shuffling. These are mathematical card tricks, meaning they work on mathematical principles and not sleight of hand! Bring a deck of cards to follow along!

December 16 — MT²: Master Teachers on Teaching

Master Teachers on TeachingFeaturing MƒA Master Teachers

MT²: Master Teachers on Teaching features original and thought-provoking presentations by MƒA Master Teachers, similar to a TEDx event. The theme for the tenth annual Master Teachers on Teaching is “Strength in Numbers”. What does this mean in your classroom, and classrooms across New York City? Come find out and bear witness to these innovative and inspiring talks by our own MƒA Master Teachers!


January 6 — Living With Chimpanzees

Featuring Zarin Machanda, Ph.D.

Zarin MachandaIn this Thursday Think talk, Dr. Zarin Machanda will discuss what it’s like to be a field primatologist studying chimpanzees in Uganda. She will highlight the basics of chimpanzee behavior and how researchers collect data on a species so closely related to our own. In particular, Dr. Machanda will discuss some of her recent research findings on how and why chimpanzees form friendships, how these change as individuals get older, and what this might tell us about our own aging process.


Previous Speakers

Sian BellockMath Anxiety: Who Has It, Why It Develops, and How to Guard Against It

Featuring President of Barnard College Sian Beilock, Ph.D. 

Florian KrammerCOVID-19 Vaccines: What Do We Know Four Months Into Vaccine Rollout?

Featuring Florian Krammer, Ph.D.

Jess PhoenixVolcanology: Danger, Discovery, and Delight

Featuring Volcanologist Jess Phoenix

Erich JarvisSinging in the Brain

Featuring Neurobiologist Dr. Erich Jarvis

Dr. Robert Berry IIIExamining Identity, Agency, Positionality and Authority in Mathematics Teaching

Featuring National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) President Dr. Robert Berry

Chris EmdinWhen Content Meets Context: Toward a Revolution in STEM Education

Featuring Professor Chris Emdin

Mona ChalabiMade You Look: Statistics Through Data Visualization

Featuring Data Editor of Guardian US Mona Chalabi

George HartHands-On Puzzles

Featuring Mathematician and Sculptor Dr. George Hart


For speaker inquiries or speaking opportunities, contact Jennifer Cody, Program Officer for Engagement and Communications.