Infinite series, binomial coefficients, n-simplex numbers. Confused yet? Don’t worry; I’m as lost as you are. These are just a few of the magnificently complex mathematical subjects that fascinate Jesuit senior Alonso Espinosa-Dominguez 16’. In fact, Alonso’s unqualified love of mathematics has inspired him to give a series of math-based lectures through the Mu Alpha Theta Club.
Throughout this year, Alonso will act as president of the student-led math society and run meetings two Wednesdays a month. On the other two Wednesdays, Alonso provides free lectures open to all Jesuit students covering a vast array of mathematic subjects.
Alonso first came up with the idea for a lecture program in the summer because he “wanted to expose people to pure mathematics,” the kind that, in his opinion, “don’t get offered in school.”
From a young age Alonso enjoyed math, but when he “transitioned from a Montessori school to a traditional Catholic school, [he] got a few very poor math teachers, did not think [he] was any good, and grew to hate math for a while. Slowly [he] began to gain some confidence and joy for math, but what truly set [him] on track to fall in love with mathematics was a book incorporating Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell in one volume.”
Seven years and many textbooks later, Alonso is nothing less than a connoisseur of the subject, living and breathing mathematics in his daily life. I asked him how he satisfies his love of mathematics outside of school, and he responded, “Initially it was just reading calculus books and continuously explaining the concepts to myself through writing; I kept a journal where I would put everything in my own terms…Now my mathematical activities are mostly writing proofs and hitting the books, be they for a topic of personal interest or for my class at UTD.” That’s right. He has completed all the math courses Jesuit offers, and now takes a college-level calculus class at the University of Texas at Dallas.
The study of mathematics is so central to Alonso’s life that he decided, along with senior Jose Rivera 16’ and Mrs. Gerber, that the next step was bringing math to the Jesuit community in the form of lectures. Jose remarked, “Alonso used me as a sort of test subject, to make sure the lectures would make sense to the everyday Jesuit student.”
With some preparation, Alonso has done just that: created a clear and non-esoteric way to introduce higher level, abstract mathematics to the Jesuit community. Presently Alonso’s lectures focus on “defining what numbers actually are, using several axioms to make proofs.”
If you are interested in math, or simply want to learn something new from one of the most passionate students around, I’d recommend attending a lecture from Alonso Espinosa-Dominguez.