Thursday, August 9, 2012

How much math do you need?


If you are going to be an engineer, statistician, or scientist maybe you need a ton of math. But in the Arizona Republic, there is a debate in the Letters about how much math the average person uses.

I get along remembering how to figure percentages and interpret medical study results—if death comes to 40% of people who have a disease and a pill makes that 10%--it is not a 30% improvement—it’s 75%. That kind of thing.

How much math do you use in everyday life? Can you do arithmetic without a calculator—add and subtract, multiply and divide. Etc?

One letter writer—a teacher as I recall—said he made students work things out by hand.

For some math is a beautiful, logical language of its own—lyrical even.

I am not one of those people. How about you?

I admit to liking plane geometry—because you could write the proofs in words. I am a word person. Can’t say as I use geometry much.

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