Mathematics and Social Issues
Quantitative reasoning, a key component of scientific thinking, can provide insight into several of society’s problems. Indeed, we use numbers and data to quantify and thus to comprehend some of the themes and sub-themes addressed in PACS 01, such as Equity in Education, Free Market Economics, and the Environment. Is the death penalty linked to race? How extensive is racial profiling? How should public schools be funded? What is the most equitable way to allocate seats in Congress? How extensive is global warming? This topical seminar addresses these and other social issues from a quantitative viewpoint, thereby exploring the question, "What is a good society?" in a different way. We will use some basic techniques to analyze quantitative data arising in a variety of social arenas. We will also study several procedures to fairly distribute resources, as well as a variety of apportionment and voting schemes.