Math Teachers at Play #2

[Photo by Sister72.]

Welcome to the second Math Teachers At Play blog carnival! Some articles were submitted by their authors, other were drawn from the back-log in my blog reader, and I’ve spiced it all up with a few of my favorite quotations.

Let the mathematical fun begin…


[Photo by twitchcraft.]

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.

Rachel Carson


toast-7-by-oskay1[Photo by oskay.]

It is India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by means of ten symbols, each symbol receiving a value of position as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit. But its very simplicity and the great ease which it has lent to computations put our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions; and we shall appreciate the grandeur of the achievement the more when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest men produced by antiquity.

Pierre-Simon de Laplace
quoted in H. Eves Return to Mathematical Circles



…the science of calculation also is indispensable as far as the extraction of the square and cube roots: Algebra as far as the quadratic equation and the use of logarithms are often of value in ordinary cases: but all beyond these is but a luxury; a delicious luxury indeed; but not be in indulged in by one who is to have a profession to follow for his subsistence.

Thomas Jefferson
quoted by J. Robert Oppenheimer in the Mathematical Quotations Server


calculus-pumpkin-1-by-tylerkaraszewski[Photo by tylerkaraszewski.]

In the fall of 1972 President Nixon announced that the rate of increase of inflation was decreasing. This was the first time a sitting president used the third derivative to advance his case for reelection.

Hugo Rossi
Mathematics Is an Edifice, Not a Toolbox


[Photo by fdecomite.]

Standard mathematics has recently been rendered obsolete by the discovery that for years we have been writing the numeral five backward. This has led to reevaluation of counting as a method of getting from one to ten. Students are taught advanced concepts of Boolean algebra, and formerly unsolvable equations are dealt with by threats of reprisals.

Woody Allen
quoted in H. Eves Return to Mathematical Circles

  • Logic puzzles don’t have to involve mathematics, of course. Xi at 360 blog shares some wonderful challenges in Language Puzzles, Part II.


more-math-by-herval2[Photo by herval.]

The traditional mathematics professor of the popular legend is absentminded. He usually appears in public with a lost umbrella in each hand. He prefers to face the blackboard and to turn his back to the class. He writes a, he says b, he means c; but it should be d. Some of his sayings are handed down from generation to generation.

  • “In order to solve this differential equation you look at it till a solution occurs to you.”
  • “This principle is so perfectly general that no particular application of it is possible.”
  • “Geometry is the science of correct reasoning on incorrect figures.”
  • “My method to overcome a difficulty is to go round it.”
  • “What is the difference between method and device? A method is a device which you used twice.”

George Pólya
How To Solve It

And that rounds up our second Math Teachers at Play carnival. I hope you enjoyed the ride.

The next edition of the carnival will open on March 20 at f(t). If you would like to contribute, please use this handy submission form. Posts must be relevant to students or teachers of preK-12 mathematics. Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. If you’d like to take a turn hosting the Math Teachers at Play blog carnival, speak up!

12 thoughts on “Math Teachers at Play #2

  1. Denise – I love the pictures you found and the quotes you used. You set a high bar.

    The submission form seems to be working – I received one already today. This is going to be fun!

  2. Hi, Kate & Mama Squirrel!

    I’m glad to hear the submission form is working properly. I’ve heard “horror stories” from other blogs in the past, and I’ve had my submissions to other carnivals get lost. Here’s hoping for a smooth ride…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.