The other day a friend related a math nightmare. She was in a prison-like compound. People guarded the exits, and they wouldn’t let her out until she solved a calculus problem. She couldn’t ever do it, and her teeth started to fall [...]

Link: Mathematical Flimflam One thing that’s always struck me is how mathematics has been interpreted by so many people in so many contexts as a direct conduit to God’s thoughts. This link is a modern manifestation of that—but sadly [...]

The mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s or the poet’s must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colors or the words must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in this world for [...]

Link: One Manifesto People have been writing about the failure of math education for a long, long time. For example: S. K. Stein, Strength in Numbers, John Wiley & Sonse, 1996 If you browse through The Mathematics Teacher, the main [...]

The mathematician does not study pure mathematics because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it and he delights in it because it is beautiful. – J.H.Poincare (1854-1912)

Link: Problem of the Week (or, ask another question) My old school, Saint Ann’s, in Brooklyn Heights, has an ongoing problem of the week competition for its middle schoolers. The problems tend to be fun, and require a little more [...]

Just had a fun little tutoring session with a new student. (How could it surprise you that I tutor?) She strikes me, happily, as one of the many people who have a decent aptitude for math but, sadly, don’t like it much and don’t think [...]

I just met with my advisor, Sandor Kovacs. Meeting with him is great, and I walk out excited to get to work. No exception today, but my work feels particularly slippery at the moment. The reason is that I don’t yet have a good question. [...]

Link: Origami Article “I realized origami was geometry without numbers. I fell in love.” —Rona Gurkewitz, from the article. I’ve seen some pretty exceptional origami in my life, from mathematicians. What’s inspiring about origami [...]

Link: The Best and Worst Jobs in the U.S. – WSJ.com “It’s a lot more than just some boring subject that everybody has to take in school… It’s the science of problem-solving.” — Ms. Courter (a research mathematician in the [...]

This blog is my effort to change the way we talk and think about math. We all agree math is important; we debate furiously about the best curricula to use in schools. But sadly, the activity of mathematics—and the joy, beauty, and wonder [...]

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