Research News

'What makes math hard?' Nathan speaks at Chaos and Complex Systems Seminar

March 22, 2018
UW-Madison's Mitch Nathan gave a talk at the Chaos and Complex Systems Seminar on Tuesday, March 20, ​titled "What makes math hard? Hint: It's not the math."

Nathan is the director of the Center on Education and Work and is a professor of the learning sciences with the School of Education’s No. 1-ranked departments of Educational Psychology and Curriculum and Instruction. In addition, he is a faculty member with the university’s Department of Psychology.

Nathan's talk challenged the well-entrenched idea that mathematics is hard to learn. Nathan presented findings that explored how learners are alienated from math, a field of "great creativity and enormous societal relevance." He also talked about who is alienated and the implications for the future of science and public policy.

The Chaos and Complex Systems Seminar is a weekly, campus-wide, multidisciplinary seminar series about the sciences of chaos and complexity. Seminar topics include computer science, mathematics, psychology, biology, economics, and meteorology.