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numerophobia and rational standards.... very long

updated thu 31 oct 96


Lauren BAll on sun 13 oct 96

Interesting thread this...

I make this observation (obviously not always true) Those in the arts
are not usually attracted to math and sciences, and Mathematicians
rarely express themselves artistically. Note that computer science and
Math are closely related. And yet here we all are on Clayart. It is
wonderfully surprising to me, to meet so many people who don't fit the

I suspect that the problem is not inherent in Math but in the way Math
is taught in public schools.

In High school my Algebra teacher told me that if I failed Algebra II
again they were going to make me teach it. In college I had an
anthropology teacher who pointed out that with my logical mind I should
excell in math. He gave me a wonderful book called "An anthropological
aproach to Mathematics". After reading it, all of a sudden the need for
Math made sense. The approach was somewhat historical in nature. It
showed that Math came naturally as a result of a need to solve certain
problems. For example ancient egypt had to redivide the land each
year. Each year the Nile deposited a different amount of silt when the
flood waters receded. This resulted in the development of rudimentarty
surveying and geometry. Each society and culture has had problems that
required the development of certain tools.
The more Math we know the more tools we have to solve the problems that
befall us. After this book I went on to master college Calculus and
think it fun.
Public schools never showed me how much fun Math can be, or why we
really need it.