Dani Novak

Dani Novak

FYRE Associate, Residential Life

Specialty:Liberal Art Math Education. Computer Art. Innovative methods of teaching Math
Phone:(607) 274-3595
E-mail:novak@ithaca.edu
Office: East Tower
Ithaca, NY 14850

Biography

Born in Israel in 1949,  Being a child of Holocaust survivors, I sought the sanctuary of pure mathematics, whose beauty and order have preserved my sanity . . . and, to a certain extent, my humanity.  Thanks God, now that these phase of my life is behind me I turned my time and energy and am joining with others to share the beauty of Math with people from all backgrounds and all ages.  Math is hard wired into our brain.  It is a part and an expression of human consciousness that keeps unfolding for ever like music, poetry and other forms of art.

Growing up in Haifa, I would question my father, a former lawyer turned orange farmer, to quiz me on the multiplication table and since then, my love for math has grown exponentially.

For the past 25 years, I have taught mathematical art and other interdisciplinary courses in the Math Department.  My colleague David Rosenthal and I co-designed  a computer language called SeeLogo, which is used in many applications. from designing scientific graphics to teaching geometry, statistics, and calculus. But as a committed humanist, I most enjoy soul-to-soul communication with students.  SeeLogo can be downloaded from the APGS Wiki  It is an amazing language with little publicity.  

A wrote a book about Mathematical Art that uses SeeLogo and is available freely on the web:

http://www.ithaca.edu/dani/SeeLogo/Math_Art/MathArtSeeLogo2009.pdf

Currently I am working with my colleague David Rosenthal on developing a new generation of computer art system that could be used to create other systems that could help teach mathematical concepts using math Art.

Lately I have encountered another wonderful tool for teaching and learning Math.  It is called GeoGebra (a combination of Geometry and Algebra) which was translated to many languages and many thousands of people are using this around the world. Through my efforts I initiated the first GeoGebra conference in North America.

I was also involved with other activities with the general purpose of bringing the beauty of Math to the hearts and minds of all people.  One such place that seems to need it most is prisons.  The educational system for prisoners (at least in the USA) is poor and many prisoners are striving to learn Math because they believe that it will give them a chance to start a meaningful life and get a job.  Thus I joined an effort initiated through the  Prisoner Express Program at Cornell University to create a Math prom specifically designed for prisoners.

Currently I am exploring the connection between music and math.

Link to my personal page

Degrees

  • PhD: (Mathematics) University of Connecticut, 1981
  • MA: (Mathematics) Technion Israel, 1976
  • BA: (Mathematics) Technion Israel, 1974


Publications

  • "Generalization of Continuous Posets." Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, V. 272, N. 2, August 1982.
  • "On the Duality between the concepts of “Finite’ and ‘Directed’,” Houston Journal of Mathematics, V. 8, N. 4, 1982.
  •  SeeLogo (with David Rosenthal), a computer language developed for the Apple II (K12 Micro-Media 1986)
  • A Programming System for Young Children (with David Rosenthal) Six Annual Computer in Education Conference, Computer Science Press, 1986.