Were you secretly solving differential equations while your friends were hanging out at the mall? Do you credit your luck in Vegas to a keen grasp of probability and statistics? Celebrate your knack (or lack) for numbers during Mathematics Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “Mathematics and Climate”; lectures and events will focus on how math is applied to modeling the global climate, from figuring out if hurricanes are getting stronger to predicting changes in the polar ice caps. [For a math-related article on health statistics in this issue, turn to “Knowing Your Chances”.]
1–4 More than 8,000 psychiatrists and other mental health professionals will convene at the World Psychiatric Association’s International Congress in Florence to discuss the state of the art in evidence-based treatments for mental illness. Workshop and symposium topics will include treatments for pregnant women with chronic psychiatric disorders and the mental health effects of living in big cities.
2–4 As many as 20 percent of newly diagnosed patients with a movement disorder might suffer from an unidentified psychiatric problem instead of a flaw in the motor system. Members of the international Movement Disorder Society are neurologists, psychologists and other experts whose work is unraveling the mysteries behind these so-called psychogenic movement disorders. At the society’s Second International Conference on Psychogenic Movement Disorders and Other Conversion Disorders, researchers will discuss recent developments in diagnosis and patient therapies.
3–4 Charles Darwin’s ideas have forever changed the way people in Western cultures perceive themselves. As part of the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth, Boston University’s Colloquium for Philosophy of Science is hosting a series of lectures that includes a symposium on the Reception of Darwinism: Transcultural Differences. International speakers will discuss the ways in which different groups—including Estonians, Cuban naturalists and Brazilian intelligentsia—have adopted the influential theory.
24 Genius and madness are a historic duo. In The Soloist, Nathaniel Ayres (Jamie Foxx)—a Juilliard-trained musician—suffers from schizophrenia and is living on the streets of Los Angeles when L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey, Jr.) discovers him on a corner playing a two-stringed violin. Based on a true story and Lopez’s book of the same name, this film, in theaters starting April 24, explores the nightmare of mental illness and homelessness and the redemptive powers of music and friendship.
Test your problem-solving abilities at Brain Teasers 2, the sequel to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s popular Brain Teasers exhibition. Now residing at the World of Wonder Children’s Museum through May 3, these 20 puzzles, from mazes to mathematical mysteries, will challenge visitors of all ages to think outside the box.