Origami Article

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 from a mathematical point of view is that it starts as a craft—the art of paper folding—and questions transform it into mathematics. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Questions are at the heart of mathematics.

So what, specifically, is the question here? Probably something like: “What is it possible to make with a square sheet of paper?” Here’s Rona again:

“It’s playing with shapes and seeing what is going to happen.”

And that’s the next step—an inspiring question leads to play, and this play (serious play, as Keith Johnstone might say) leads us to a better understanding of what is possible.

The Best and Worst Jobs in the U.S. – WSJ.com

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 article below.

I’m not linking to this article to make lumberjacks feel bad. But this is a small part of a body of evidence that there’s something in mathematics that can bring great joy into our lives. You can’t see what it is from this article; you generally can’t see what it is when people write about math. I honestly think you have to start doing mathematics to feel it. I’ll try to put more on this site that might lead you to feel it.

Note that that top six jobs are mathematically heavy. Part of the reason matematician is such a great job is that there’s a tremendous amount of intellectual freedom. Sadly, most of us experience the opposite when we take math courses in school. Who here associates mathematics with freedom or choice? And yet, making choices is at the heart of mathematics.

The reason to do math is for love

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 it brings—is absent from almost all of our lives.

I’m going to do my best to show you what this subject is really about. I love math, and I believe it to be one of our inheritences as human beings, another rich form of expression like music, art, or speech. I’ll try to show you what it looks like in its uncorrupted form, and what it feels like when you do it. I’ll be posting videos, interviews, musings, essays, and news stories.

Have courage! Having math in your life will change the way you see everything.