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

*Dispatches from the wonderful world of mathematics*

What is your favourite number? (34835)

www.favouritenumber.net

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.

www.alexbellos.com

@alexbellos

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