Green Room

Video: The museum of … math

posted at 12:01 pm on March 3, 2013 by

Hate math? That’s because most of us are given one single path to slog through it, says Dr. Whitney, the young man behind the nation’s first Museum of Mathematics. CBS News featured this effort to make mathematics cool on Sunday Morning, but “museum” might be a poor choice of terms. Think of this as the Mathematics Workshop, in which interactive displays entice the young and old to fall in love with mathematics … or at least be intrigued by it:

What a great idea! Now if we can just get our politicians to take an interest in rational numbers, we might actually make progress.

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I have 24 college credits in mathematics as a graduate engineer and always loved mathematics. Math spans all languages and is either correct or wrong but not according to some liberal professors whims of the day. It is a truly pure area of study and the biggest hurdle was realizing it isn’t impossible or unattainable.

trs on March 3, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Oops 28 credits…

trs on March 3, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Oops 28 credits…

trs on March 3, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Couldn’t do the math huh?

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

D-fusit on March 3, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Except this doesn’t do the one thing that most kids (and Congresscritters!) need to understand about math: you have to do the work! “Grasping” the concept is great, but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t actually do the algebra. (And, yes, you actually do algebra throughout your daily routine – if you bother to do things like compare prices in the store on differently sized packages. Don’t just believe the shelf tags – they are sometimes wrong.) And, yes, there are some things you actually have to just memorize so you know them.

GWB on March 3, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Liberals hate math.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on March 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM

This entire generation x hates math. I watch as cashiers try to make sense out of giving odd bills to get even change and it blows their minds. I get that look like, “Why are you doing this to me.”

hawkdriver on March 3, 2013 at 1:49 PM

I couldn’t imagine a man that looks less like a Journalist than whoever that hipster was. Cool story though, the square wheeled tricycle was particularly cool.

vegconservative on March 3, 2013 at 1:54 PM

This entire generation x hates math. I watch as cashiers try to make sense out of giving odd bills to get even change and it blows their minds. I get that look like, “Why are you doing this to me.”

hawkdriver on March 3, 2013 at 1:49 PM

While I agree to your point hawk it is not all gen-x’ers just most. All three of my kids love and are great in math. I know that I am very fortunate in that regard. It is painful to watch the expression on the faces of the checkout clerks at most stores when you pay in cash and they have to make change. You can almost see the hurt. One time my daughter actually had to tell the clerk exactly what bills and coins to give back, she was 8 years old at the time. Can you say embarrassing?

D-fusit on March 3, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Part of my job is designing and then fabricating reusable electronic fixtures that get fired in simulated artillery shots. Being a Tool Maker with 30+ years in the shop helps.

Doing the math by hand to calculate the stresses in the fixtures, or even using a calculator to crunch the numbers would shut me down… because I’m usually am on a compressed schedule. And I really hate being the guy they are waiting for when it’s time to start testing.

Thank God for SolidWorks. That plus some experience in designing for high G loads and torques usually keeps me on time.

And I haven’t trigged out a bolt circle in a dozen years… The computers have me covered for that stuff and I love it.

RalphyBoy on March 3, 2013 at 2:48 PM

I don’t need me no math. I got a calcalator app on my free Obama phone! Besides, mat is how dem 1%ers steel from u, dawg.

JimLennon on March 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM

So, who else recognized the trigonometric π reference indicated when crossing the threshold of the Museum of Mathematics doorway (video location 2:18)?

ExpressoBold on March 3, 2013 at 3:10 PM

So, who else recognized the trigonometric π reference indicated when crossing the threshold of the Museum of Mathematics doorway (video location 2:18)?

ExpressoBold on March 3, 2013 at 3:10 PM

That and the way they did the fractal image generator screen shows that lots of thought went into this place. Details great and small are all cover is the way it looks from here.

Count on a line at the bike…

RalphyBoy on March 3, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Math is great, but I agree, the way we teach our kids math turns most of them off for life.

They don’t realize that math (just like English) is a part of almost everything we do.

Good Solid B-Plus on March 3, 2013 at 4:05 PM

“Like”

williamg on March 3, 2013 at 5:19 PM

They don’t realize that math (just like English) is a part of almost everything we do.

Good Solid B-Plus on March 3, 2013 at 4:05 PM

.
Indeed! It’s a universal language; the portrayal of mathematics as the world of socially inept nerds and paranoid, power-hungry villains is criminal.
.
I was so disappointed to learn that there was an entire branch of mathematics (calculus) to which I had no exposure in high school and a world of thought beyond that. I was at a huge disadvantage when I entered college because of my deficiencies in maths. I was unaware of how much I did not know.

ExpressoBold on March 3, 2013 at 5:32 PM

…I didn’t care for math or science…I should have been a progressive!

KOOLAID2 on March 3, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Math being the foundation of all science, this place is considered a church of satan by conservatives. If we didn’t have rule of law, they’d probably blow it up.

lester on March 3, 2013 at 7:29 PM

If we didn’t have rule of law, they’d probably blow it up.

lester on March 3, 2013 at 7:29 PM

.
No answers, just invective spewing from you, hate-filled cavity that you are. If you couldn’t hate, you couldn’t exist. Sad, sad dreg of humanity that you are, you don’t even cause irritation any more; nor do you inspire pity. I’m sure that you hate yourself even more than you hate us.
.
No more for you. Ever.

ExpressoBold on March 3, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Math being the foundation of all science, this place is considered a church of satan by conservatives. If we didn’t have rule of law, they’d probably blow it up.

lester on March 3, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Yeah, because the party that wants us to reduce our deficit is the one that hates math, right?

Lulz. Liberals pretend to like all “intellectual” pursuits, but they actually don’t understand even basic math.

Good Solid B-Plus on March 3, 2013 at 9:14 PM

Math being the foundation of all science, this place is considered a church of satan by conservatives. If we didn’t have rule of law, they’d probably blow it up.

lester on March 3, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Low IQ communist scum Lester… Most of the engineers that I know, including myself, are conservatives and I live in a super liberal state… As usual you are a low life liberal who is just projecting… Almost all liberals I know have stupid and meaningless humanities degrees and even simple math for them is a huge challenge…

mnjg on March 3, 2013 at 9:48 PM

On a side subject you may notice that when you go to liberal political forums they almost never talk about scientific issues except for the hoax of man made global warming which these morons consider science when it is just a hoax and vooddo science… On the other hand this forum and many other conservative forums do have threads and many postings about scientific related issues…

mnjg on March 3, 2013 at 9:52 PM

“Grasping” the concept is great, but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t actually do the algebra.

People are less inspired to do and understand something if it seems like pointless busywork, if, in the words of someone else here,

They don’t realize that math (just like English) is a part of almost everything we do.

calbear on March 3, 2013 at 10:35 PM

Math being the foundation of all science, this place is considered a church of satan by conservatives. If we didn’t have rule of law, they’d probably blow it up.

lester on March 3, 2013 at 7:29 PM

God is a God of order and reason. Scientists and mathematicians who were Christians include: Napier, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Euler, and Pascal.

Copernicus, “To him the universe was built for us by the Best and Most Orderly Workman of all.“;

Kepler, said I consider it a right, yes a duty, to search in cautious manner for the numbers, sizes and weights, the norms for everything He has created. For He Himself has let man take part in the knowledge of these things and thus not in a small measure has set up His image in man.

…For these secrets are not of the kind whose research should be forbidden; rather they are set before our eyes like a mirror so that by examining them we observe to some extent the goodness and wisdom of the Creator.

In the 1970′s Francis Schaeffer wrote,

Living within the concept that the world was created by a reasonable God, scientists could move with confidence, expecting to find out about the world by observation and experimentation. This was their epistemological base–the philosophical foundation with which they were sure they could know….Since the world had been created by a reasonable God, they were not surprised to find a correlation between themselves as observers and the thing observed….Without this foundation, Western modern science would not have been born.

INC on March 4, 2013 at 3:36 AM

Galileo said, Mathematics is the alphabet with which God has written the universe.

I have a book somewhere I think titled Mathematics: Is God Silent? by a guy named Nickel. These are quotes I copied from it into a Word doc. Nickel said these statements by men who were not Christians. First from Morris Kline in his book, Mathematics and the Physical World:

Finally, a study of mathematics and its contributions to the sciences exposes a deep question. Mathematics is man-made. The concepts, the broad ideas, the logical standards and methods of reasoning, and the ideals which have been steadfastly pursued for over two thousand years were fashioned by human beings. Yet with this product of his fallible mind man has surveyed spaces too vast for his imagination to encompass; …and he has discovered particles too small to be seen with the most powerful microscope. Cold symbols and formulas completely at the disposition of man have enabled him to secure a portentous grip on the universe. Some explanation of this marvelous power is called for.

Mr. Nickel also describes an article written by Eugene Wigner (Nobel prize in physics), in 1960, titled The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences:

Wigner continues to express his bafflement over the fact that “it is not at all natural that ‘laws of nature’ exist, much less that man is able to discern them.” Concerning the effectiveness of Newton’s law of universal gravitation, he says that it “has proved accurate beyond all reasonable expectations.”

He continues to illustrate the mysterious usefulness of mathematics by citing the application of imaginary numbers (e.g., √-1) in the laws of quantum physics. First, he observes that “the use of complex numbers is in this case not a calculational trick of applied mathematics but comes close to being a necessity in the formulation of the laws of quantum mechanics.: Given this fact, he responds with this amazing remark, “It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here”

Finally, he concludes, “Fundamentally, we do not know why our theories work so well.” And to this, he concludes:

The miracle of appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.”

Dr. Remo J. Ruffini, a physicist at Princeton [at that time, I presume], when he “reacted to the successful landing of men on the moon”:

How a mathematical structure can correspond to nature is a mystery. One way out is just to say that the language in which nature speaks is the language of mathematics. This begs the question. Often we are both shocked and surprised by the correspondence between mathematics and nature, especially when the experiment confirms that our mathematical model describes nature perfectly.

Interesting, isn’t it?

INC on March 4, 2013 at 3:40 AM

My degree is in math ed.

Kids need to go from concrete to abstract.

They need to see the importance and every-day life.

They need to learn logic! (That would clear up the heads of a lot of politicians). Geometric proofs are one of the best ways to learn logic.

My favorite math classes were geometry and abstract algebra. Love, love, love doing proofs!

INC on March 4, 2013 at 3:43 AM

Sounds racist…

Valkyriepundit on March 4, 2013 at 7:26 AM

hawkdriver on March 3, 2013 at 1:49 PM

You misspelled Millenials.

Steve Eggleston on March 4, 2013 at 7:37 AM

The museum of … math

The title actually sounds like some Progressive school, where Arithmatic has been replaced with Gender and Race Studies.

Glenn Jericho on March 4, 2013 at 8:17 AM