Nearly all of the software that the Math Center uses is available for free on any Linux system.
"Dual Booting" Linux and Mac OS X requires adjusting the partitions on your computer's hard drive. This is generally a safe action but does run some risk and you should be very careful while doing it - you do run the risk of losing all of your data!
The process involves: installing rEFIt which helps with multi-booting; resizing your disk partitions; and finally installing ubuntu. A nice and modern explanation of this process can be found in the OMG! Ubuntu! blog. Make sure you create at least 7GB of "free space" when you resize your partitions to ensure that there will be enough room for the packages used by the math center. The Math Center uses the KDE environment, so if you wish for your installation to look more like the Math Center lab machines, you should use the Kubuntu live CD for "Step 3".
An alternative to dual booting which is to install software using MacPorts. This approach is safer, but can be a bit more hassle.