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Dr. John Allen Paulos Deliver the Inaugural Address in the Bastek Honors Program Lecture Series

Thursday, October 21, 2004  
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Dr. John Allen Paulos, best-selling author and world renowned mathematician, will deliver the inaugural address in the Bastek Honors Program Lecture Series at noon on October 28th at Saint Peter’s College.  The American Association for the Advancement of Science named Dr. Paulos the winner of its award last year for promoting the public’s understanding of science.


“Dr. Paulos has demonstrated, through his teaching and books, the relevance of mathematical principles in everyday lives, from reading the newspaper to performing one’s job,” said Dr. Lisa O’Neill, a philosophy teacher at Saint Peter’s College and organizer of the Bastek Honors Program Lecture series.  “His insights enable his readers to view news stories from a different, and sometimes humorous, perspective rooted in mathematics.”


Dr. Paulos’ address, entitled “A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper,” examines the mathematical angles of stories in the news.  He argues that inadequate math skills put readers at a disadvantage in analyzing news stories that on their surface do not seem to involve math at all.  Dr. Paulos contends that notions of probability and randomness enhance articles on crime, health risks and other societal obsessions.  In addition, he suggests that the multiplication principles will often point out consumer fallacies, electoral tricks and sports myths.


In addition to numerous articles in various academic publications in his subject area, Dr. Paulos has authored several books, including Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences in 1988 (on The New York Times bestseller list for 18 weeks) and Once Upon a Number: The Hidden Mathematical Logic of Stories (selected by The Los Angeles Times as one of the best books of 1998).  His most recent work, last year’s A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market, earned top reviews from numerous publications including The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.  He also writes a monthly column for and has appeared on the Lehrer News Hour, 20/20 and Larry King Live.


Dr. Paulos earned his doctorate in math from the University of Wisconsin and teaches math at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.  The lecture will take place in Pope Auditorium on Saint Peter’s College Jersey City campus.  The event is free and open to the general public.


Dr. Carol Bastek, class of 1970, donated $1 million to Saint Peter’s College to endow the Dr. James V. Bastek Honors Program in memory of her late husband, a 1967 graduate of the College.  The $1 million endowment establishes the Dr. James V. Bastek Honors House as an on-campus center for student activities, including classes and lectures.


Saint Peter’s College is the Jesuit College of New Jersey.  Founded in 1872, Saint Peter’s has an enrollment of approximately 3,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs.  The main campus is located in Jersey City. The College has a branch campus for adults in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. and also offers courses at various corporate sites at the Jersey City waterfront, in Newark and in South Amboy, NJ. 

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