Monthly Archives: March 2012

Everything Right is Wrong Again: the death of discovery-based learning?

I have never had any formal training in “how to a teach” — my own graduate studies, for better or for worse, were purely mathematical — and although I do expend a little energy towards keeping up with the world … Continue reading

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Searching for Lakatos

Should a textbook always give the whole truth?  Being sticklers for detail, as mathematicians generally are, the answer would seem to be an obvious “yes.” In some cases it’s even difficult to imagine what the “partial truth” would be. But … Continue reading

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About the header image – A reprise

Utterly inspired by the header image of the Cairo tessellation (Jonas’s 2/4 post), I’ve been slightly obsessed by street tiling these days. On a recent Friday when the weather was simply gorgeous, I, along with my dog, Basil, decided to … Continue reading

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Mathy reads

I once had an undergraduate professor, charmingly bespectacled and pleasantly ill-suited for his chosen career of mathematics, who said that no matter how high one goes in math, he or she would still need from time to time to take … Continue reading

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My monumental ignorance: proofs I wish I knew, and the challenge of negativity

As with most things, the farther you go in mathematics the sharper your sense of ignorance becomes.  There is just too much math out there, and too little time to follow every thread that crosses your path.  I’d like to … Continue reading

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Healthy Eating with Professor Esther Wilder

Professor Esther Wilder, Associate Professor of Sociology at Lehman College, recently received a $600,000 NSF grant for her Quantitative Reasoning (QR) research. Her bio on Lehman’s website is utterly impressive, and yes, of course, she is also a super mom with … Continue reading

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Magical Arguments

There are certain arguments that are beautiful and convincing but not admissible as proofs. They give the right answer, and show in an important way why something should be true, but they don’t pass muster as formal mathematics. Frequently they … Continue reading

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The great search for the 16-clue Sudoku: computers, math, and the nature of proof

Sudoku (rules can be found here) has always had a problematic association with mathematics.  A first reaction by the ‘man-on-the-street’ to all those numbers is that it’s “too math-y” —  ironic, since the numbers are just employed as placeholders and could easily … Continue reading

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Offense and defense

Below I will give what I think are controversial opinions on mathematics education. It isn’t my intention to offend anyone, only to motivate discussion. I also want to say in advance that when I talk about higher math skills I … Continue reading

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Community-making in the world of online math

There is a general feeling that the internet and our new “connectedness,” have tremendous power to foster new communities.  However, sometimes the internet can feel like a very lonely place (in the same way, I suppose, that New York City … Continue reading

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