Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mathematics IS Beautiful

The parent who sounded off about me showing Carl Sagan videos ON Carl Sagan Day in the local newspaper contacted me again. This is to be expected - his child is one of my students. I expect communication. This email however is interesting. It contained a video that I have seen before (one of those circulating emails). It is titled The Beauty of Mathematics.

I actually appreciate that he sent me this. I always enjoy playing around with numbers and seeking out patterns here and there that perhaps someone else wouldn't have caught.

But that's the point. We are creatures of habit (I tell my students this all the time - sometimes it's a good thing, sometomes a bad thing) and we will project patterns where sometimes there really aren't any. The interesting thing about receiving this video from him, though, is he thinks that the content somehow validates his position in terms of the existence of a higher power. I think what he fails to realize is that 'hardwork' and 'attitude' are single words, while 'love of god' is a phrase of three words. What I would suggest is to use just 'god'. If we do, then 'god' amounts to 26%. Hmmm. Even the lowest of the Algebra II students I have would score better than 26% on an exam.

1 comment:

  1. So the love of god will get me 101%...but armadillos will somehow get me 104%, and selfishness will get me 135%! And it would be mathematically impossible to calculate how far antidisestablishmentarianism will get me.

    I like finding patterns as much as anyone, and the ones at the beginning of the video are pretty nifty, but the punchline is one of the lazier "cute pattern = GOD" videos I've seen.

    I wish I could say I've never had math student of mine score lower than 26% but, alas, such is not the case.