Category Archives: What is Mathematics

What is mathematics, a human activity, an expandable and flexible science build by humans, the study of abstract entities, the science of patterns…?

The making of a mile of PI

Let us teach guessing! With George Polya

Look at this beautiful video almost 50 years old. Thinking and learning in mathematics!

What is creativity in maths?

This is a bit of a longer article I found in + Plus Magazine:

Where were your most creative experiences at school? In art class? In music? English? In your maths lesson? That last one might not be the obvious choice for many of us, unless you were lucky enough to have a really inspiring maths teacher. But that is exactly the type of opportunity we are hoping to create for maths students aged 7-16 as part of the project, Developing Mathematical Creativity, with our sister site, NRICH.

One aspect of the project that we are particularly excited about is highlighting the role of creativity in mathematics research. All mathematicians tell us that doing original mathematics is highly creative – but what exactly do they mean by that? We asked some researchers from a range of subjects about the role of creativity in their work.

Working within constraints

We started with David Berman who has a very interesting perspective on creativity. As well as being a theoretical physicist at Queen Mary, University of London, he also has a long standing collaboration with the Turner prize winning artist, Grenville Davey. Deconstructing the artistic idea of creativity, Berman told us that rather than an unbridled release of ideas where anything is possible, beauty comes from creating work withing very tight syntactic constraints. “Think of music: the tight system of key and chord makes music very constrained and yet capable of amazing emotional power,” he said. For example Schoenberg’s* experiments with atonal music, though completely new and boundary breaking, were far from unconstrained. “Maths is like this. There are enormous syntactic constrains but still enough freedom to say something new. The beauty lies in between the constraints of syntax and the freedom of meaning.”

Continue reading…

How the ancient Greeks shaped modern mathematics – video animation

How the ancient Greeks shaped modern mathematics – video animation

The Center of Math: Videos Diferential Calculus


The Center produces free high-quality resources that include lecture, solution, tutorial and research videos.They are recorded in their studio classroom space in Cambridge, MA. You can easily browse courses and subjects here or on our youtube channel.

The full story of maths. Marcus de Sautoy – BBC four

Chapter 1: The language of the universe

Chapter 2: The genius of the east

Chapter 3: The forntiers of space

Chapter 4: To infinity and beyond

The role of the untrue in mathematics

Chandler Davis’s chapter. Part of the book The best writings on mathematics (William P. Thurston and Mircea Pitici)


The Mathematics Education Project

World of Mathematics

Interactive eBook

Dive into a colourful and engaging world, discovering some of the most exciting and curious mathematical ideas. Using interactive games, animations and countless illustrations, advanced mathematics becomes accessible to both children and adults.

Topics range from fractals to infinity, prime numbers, game theory, group theory and quantum mechanics.

2013 Lovie Awards Gold Winner: Best Education Website

Inspirational for my idea

A piece of art

The first 6 books of The Elements of Euclid by Oliver Byrne .
Oliver Byrne (1810–1890) was a civil engineer and prolific author of works on subjects including mathematics, geometry, and engineering. His most well known book was this version of ‘Euclid’s Elements’, published by Pickering in 1847, which used coloured graphic explanations of each geometric principle. The book has become the subject of renewed interest in recent years for its innovative graphic conception and its style which prefigures the modernist experiments of the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements. Information design writer Edward Tufte refers to the book in his work on graphic design and McLean in his Victorian book design of 1963.
In 2010 Taschen republished the work in a facsimile edition. (Wikipedia)
See more here

The fact that w…

“The fact that we have never read an endless book, or counted to infinity (and beyond!) or made contact with an extraterrestrial civilisation (all subjects of essays in the book) should not prevent us from wondering: what if? … Literature adds a further dimension to the exploration of those pure possibilities. As Nemirovsky and Ferrara suggest, there are numerous similarities in the patterns of thinking and creating shared by writers and mathematicians (two vocations often considered incomparable.)”

Daniel Tammet: Thinking in Numbers

From the extraordinary blog: brainpicker and her 13 must read books on science and technology books 2013