find the value of pi -- starts 3 point 1 4 1 5 9.
A good ol’ fraction you may hope to define, but the decimal never dies ....”
-- from Larry Lesser’s “American Pi”, winner of the National Museum of Mathematics’ Pi Day of the Century song contest
photo © 1999 Lauren Davis
Lesser during his keynote for a district-wide in-service for Cherry Creek School District’s K-12 teachers in Denver.
ABOUT THE MATHEMUSICIAN: To support his mission to motivate learning mathematics/statistics, Professor Lesser integrates two great loves – math and music! Lesser has won a dozen awards for educational STEM songs and song videos in recent national contests (ASA, National Museum of Mathematics, CAUSE, QL-SIGMAA) and a video of songs was shown at Bridges 2014. His songs yielded statistically significant learning gains in an NSF-funded randomized experiment, helped land a new NSF grant to write and assess interactive statistics songs, and led to plenary full-length presentation-performances for national audiences ranging from mathematics teachers (e.g., an SRO audience of 800+ to open the 2009 NCTM conference in Nashville) to mathematicians (e.g., 2008 MAA MathFest banquet) to statisticians (e.g., 2013 USCOTS banquet) to general audiences (e.g., 2015 MoMath event).
Lesser’s outreach has helped yield teaching awards and has been featured in print media (e.g., Australia’s largest paper), institutional media (e.g., my college newsletter or the closing story of my university newscast), STEM songwriter media, and mass media (from El Paso to Jamaica!). While he focuses on secondary and postsecondary levels, Lesser has also produced math-and-music material for younger audiences, ranging from an appearing on a regional PBS-TV children's show to writing an issue of The Mini Page, an educational supplement in 500 newspapers with 20 million readers.
Lesser has internationally published 75+ math/stat lyrics (and 33+ math/stat poems), pioneering papers (in Mathematics Teacher, Teaching Statistics, EJSME, J. of Mathematics Education, and J. of Mathematics and the Arts, and VOICES) on using music in math/statistics class, and in his newest NSF grant, he (with composer Dominic Dousa) wrote 11 interactive songs (and coordinated 11 more) being assessed for effectiveness in helping students learn introductory statistics, as part of broader work on educational fun.
As the Mathemusician (some say “the Weird Al Yankovic of math/stat ed”), Lesser incorporates guitar in interactive classes and keynotes, facilitating explorations and performing songs spanning content such as infinity, pi, and worldly contexts such as the lottery!
LESSER’S “PROFESSOR BIO”: http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/ (at the bottom)
LESSER’s “SONGWRITER BIO”: http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/songwriter.html