Mathematics: All That Matters
By Mike Askew
Do we still need mathematics? What does it all add up to?
By looking at some of the history of mathematics, psychological studies into how we come to know mathematics and key ideas in mathematics itself, this book will, if not make you fall in love with mathematics, then at least come to understand its nature a little better. Perhaps after reading, you will even care a little more for it. All That Matters books are written by the world's leading experts to introduce the most exciting and relevant areas of an important topic to students and general readers. From Bioethics to Muhammad and Philosophy to Sustainability, the All That Matters series covers the most controversial and engaging topics from science, philosophy, history, religion and other fields. The authors are world-class academics or top public intellectuals, on a mission to bring the most interesting and challenging areas of their subject to new readers. Each book contains a unique '100 ideas' section, giving inspiration to readers whose interest has been piqued and who want to explore the subject further.
Mathematics often gets a bad press. Describing someone as 'calculating' or 'rational' is hardly as flattering as being labelled 'artistic' or 'creative' and mathematicians in movies or novels are often portrayed as social misfits who rarely get the guy or girl. No wonder some folks say 'oh I don't care for mathematics, I was never any good at it' with a wistful sense of pride.
Yet professional mathematicians talk of the subject differently. They look for elegant solutions to problems, revel in playing around with mathematical ideas and talk of the creative nature of mathematics. As the Russian mathematician Sophia Kovalevskaya said "It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul."
So why is there such a gap between the views of everyday folks and professional mathematicians? Part of the problem lies in how most of us were taught mathematics in school. The mathematics served up there is presented as a series of de-contextualised, abstract ideas, wrested from the human struggles and interactions that gave birth to the ideas. Through looking at some of the history of mathematics, psychological studies into how we come to know mathematics and key ideas in mathematics itself, the intent of this book is, if not to make the reader fall in love with mathematics, then at least to come to understand its nature a little better, and perhaps care a little more for it. In short, this book explores the human side of maths.
Mike Askew is Professor of Primary Education at Monash University, Melbourne and prior to that he was Professor of Mathematics Education at King's College, London University. He has written extensively for both academic and professional readers and his books include Transforming Primary Mathematics (Routledge) and, with Rob Eastaway, the best selling Maths for Mums and Dads (Square Peg/Random House) and most recently More Maths for Mums and Dads (the teenage years) (Square Peg/Random House)
- Other details
- Publication date:
26 Feb 2015
- Page count:
Hodder & Stoughton