#mspiluk2011 Alex’s adventures in numberland

Alex Bellos, journalist and author of ‘Alex’s adventures in numberland’.

Dispatches from the wonderful world of mathematics

What is your favourite number? (34835)

People’s stories behind their favourite number.
37 – it looks mysterious like a cloaked villain from a silent movie
219 – the first number too boring to have its own wikipedia entry
101 – lowest whole number with an ‘a’ in it 
3 is the largest number we can count without thinking. Ancient civilisation’s numbers 1-3 are lines, 4 is a symbol. Indian numerals 1-4 when joined up without taking hand off page shows the beginning of our digits. 

Solving multiplication sums using lines???? Need to look at this again!
Cross multiplication is an Indian/Hindu method (Vedic Mathematics). This is where it is believed the x symbol for multiplication originated.

What is a number?
Cardinality (amount)
Ordinality (position) 

Different ways of tallying in different cultures. Some as we do, some as 4 to create a square and 1 extra line through it. In Japan, completely different. 

Embracing the creativity of the language in mathematics. 

Numbers on car number plates – when the digits line up in terms of multiplication he takes a photo. E.g. 41 – 04 (4×2=04)

Video clips of Japanese pupils calculating.


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