Numerate Life for Whom? A Non-book-review of John Allen Paulos’s A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours
A common, widespread view on the field of mathematics entails that “mathematics is dry as dust [and] as exciting as a telephone book” (Davis & Hersh, 1981, p. 169), and that the professional mathematician is merely “a kind of calculator” (Krull, 1987, p. 48). Even more provocatively, mathematics is conceived by many of the general public as a “deadend” discipline in which all questions have already been answered, where nothing worthwhile is left for further investigation (Movshovitz-Hadar, 2008). However, mathematics is an active, growing, open-ended field – a fact which can be illustrated, amongst others, by the exponential growth in the number of new articles that are published per year (Dunne, 2019). Furthermore, the common perception of the subject by the people who are working within the field – the mathematicians themselves – is that mathematical work is creative in nature and often driven by its intrinsic aesthetic dimension (e.g., Brinkmann & Sriraman, 2009; Gadanidis, 2012; Sinclair, 2004).
"Numerate Life for Whom? A Non-book-review of John Allen Paulos’s A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours,"
The Mathematics Enthusiast: Vol. 20
, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umt.edu/tme/vol20/iss1/8
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
University of Montana, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library