Education news: Catawba professor presents paper on Khmer mathematics

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dr. Paul Baker, a professor of mathematics at Catawba College, represented the college at the Mathematical Association of America Liaison’s meeting at the MAA Southeastern Section Annual Meeting on March 13 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
While at the meeting, Baker organized and chaired a special session on the history of mathematics. During the session, he presented a paper, “Exploring Mathematics from the Khmer Empire.” The Khmer Empire flourished in Cambodia for more than 1,000 years, and the Khmers built the largest temple complex in the world ó Angkor Wat. The only surviving written records of the Khmer Empire are approximately 12,000 stone inscriptions from the temples.
In the summer of 2008, Baker searched translations of the inscriptions for evidence about the state of Khmer mathematics. Despite Arabian and Hindu claims, there is evidence ó etched in stone ó that the Khmers were the first to use the number zero. Other features of ancient Khmer mathematics were also included in Baker’s presentation.
Librarian featured
An interview with Catawba College’s Corriher-Linn-Black Library Director, Dr. Steve McKinzie, was published in the December 2008-January 2009 edition of “Against the Grain.” In the interview, McKinzie discussed the recent renovation of the 25,000-square-foot library at Catawba.
The renovations, completed in late 2007, cost less than $3.5 million and capitalized on the building’s existing tall ceilings, open public spaces and large, tall windows. The project, which included a new roof and asbestos abatement, used a local architect, Ramsey, Burgin and Smith Architects Inc., and a project manager to oversee the work.
Other renovation features include the creation of an information commons, more attractive seating, the addition of more computers, a library instruction lab, a reading area, collaborative learning spaces, and a coffee and drink area in the lobby.
McKinzie, who earned his bachelor of arts degree from East Texas State University, his master’s degree from East Carolina University and his master of library science degree from Vanderbilt University, joined the Catawba College community in June of 2006.
Read the full “Against the Grain” interview, “Breaking All the Rules: Library Renovation at Catawba College,” online at
Millbridge science fair presentations
Breanna Lents, a fourth-grader, presented “Trash or Recycle”and fourth-grader Cierra Hunter presented “How Juicy Is Your Fruit” at the Millbridge Elementary School science fair.
Head Start
Staff and parents from the Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency-Head Start attended the 39th annual North Carolina Head Start Association Conference March 18-20 in Winston-Salem.
They attended workshops on Stress Management, Recognizing the Signs of Abuse, Putting More Exercise in Your Day, Teaching Techniques and Strategies for Preschool Children, Literacy, Brain Building, Healthy Foods and Introductory Spanish.
The following local people were honored at the banquet”
– Ellen Campbell, Salisbury-Rowan Head Start Parent of the Year. She is a grandparent at the Wiley Lash Head Start/Early Head Start Center.
– Ervin Johnson is a Salisbury native and Head Start alumni. He graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2007. He joined the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, D.C., as the internship coordinator. He is a graduate student at Howard University.
– Ranesha Lipscomb, a former Head Start student and a senior at Salisbury High School, received a $1,000 scholarship from the North Carolina Head Start Association to the college of her choice.
– Natasha Sherald is the Salisbury-Rowan Head Start Teacher of the Year. She is a lead teacher at the East Spencer Head Start Center.
– Colgate Bright Smiles Bright Futures Dental Bus and Dorothy Dixon received a special recognition award for free dental screening of the Head Start children.
Landis Elementary Citizens of Month
Kindergarten: Isis Wallace, Zoey Nichols, Emily Cowan, Taylor Chapman and Kendall Rockstad.
First grade: Gavin Bare, Madison Smith, Getsemani Miranda, Brandon Lara and Yesenia Gomez.
Second grade: Mikayla Roark, Ryan Franklin, Tyler Ervin and Gabriel Duncan.
Third grade: Lacie Erwin, Kaitlyn Wood, Lesley Frias, Elisa Sanchez and Anna Gobble.
Fourth grade: Kassidy Jones, Keava Carlton, Seth Turbeville and Reagan Page.
Fifth grade: Desiree Roach, Madison Yoder, Andrew Hawkins and Tristan Wyatt.