Blog on Math Blogs

Mathematical Digest


Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Finding Your Inner Mathematician," by Keith Devlin. Chronicle of Higher Education, 29 September 2000.

"I am convinced that everyone has the capacity to do mathematics, at least through high-school algebra and geometry," Devlin writes. He bases this statement not only on his 30 years' teaching experience, but also on psychological research that suggests that humans innately possess nine basic abilities necessary to do mathematics. Being able to deal with abstraction is one of the key abilities, but, Devlin argues, this is not very different from the imaginative reasoning required to read a work of fiction. He also discusses how this view of mathematical ability could be used to improve mathematics teaching.

--- Allyn Jackson