Sunday shortie. Sorry for absence, but my wireless mouse packed up, as did my backup wireless mouse, and this necessitated a lengthy and unedifying trip into Cambridge. The things I do for my fans, eh?
Here we go. Apparently (I have not fact checked this) ministers in the UK government have been advised to ‘Give maths a less scary name.’ This is to aid the flakes in being less intimidated. By a scary name for a subject at school? Real life is going to chuck said flakes a googlie (US types, think ‘curveball’) or two, eh?
FFS, the word ‘mathematics’ goes back a long arse time, via French, Latin, ancient Greek, from the word ‘to know.’ I doubt very much that Euclid, among many other prominent mathematicians, ever got put off by the idea that the word is scary. Gawdelpus.
Wadda ya wanna do? Call it ‘sums?’ ‘Sums’ is what you do in a shop to check if your change is right, or, if you’re grownup (I’m not) check your bank balance and credit card statements. ‘Sums’ are easy, sort of, I can still work sums out in my head faster than the average 16 year old can do it on the calculator kindly provided as an app on the phone. Things is, they hit a wrong key, they have no bloody idea if the answer looks wrong, because they don’t know.
Mathematics is scary. It’s hard. It’s intimidating. I knew mathematicians at university where I didn’t even begin to comprehend the notation they were using. Forget +,-,/,x. They used stuff I had real trouble with. Mind you, I had trouble with the idea of the square root of minus one, which occurred distressingly frequently even in biology, till I sussed out mathematicians are first rate cheats, and figured out that i, if you get calculations right, cancels out on both sides of your equation and you don’t have to worry too much about it.
Any chicken scared by the word ‘mathematics’ may have trouble later in life trying to understand the difference between Keynesian and Galbraithan economics. Trying to get your head round that will spook you. The word ‘mathematics’ should not.