Tuesday, February 20, 2007

8 year old discovers a math flaw in a national traveling exhibit

STLtoday - Life & Style: "For years, Parker has amazed his parents and teachers with his math skills. When he was 3, his parents could tell him which coins they had in their pocket, and he'd add the total in his head. "

This is an amazing child, I hope he is getting the support he needs to magnify this talent of his. There have not been many mathematical child prodigies. Gauss being the big one. Yet I fear for him too, because most mathematicians peak fairly young. Of late most do their greatest works in their 20-30s and then fall out of the sky not producing very much. Why? I have no idea neither do I have any idea how to help. All I know is that here is something here to be aware of.


Anonymous said...


I'll try the sexiest angle..

Because most of them are men and concentrate on careers and being great mathemeticians. If they had to stay home and raise children or care for elderly, or pets or ..., things would be different.

You can always make a comeback at 45, you don't lose knowlege in gaining wisdom or baking cookies.

Nothing can stop you except yourself even if you put your that career on pause for 25 years

Stephan said...

I was talking age, and made no mention of sex and while it is possible to put many careers on hold for a couple of decades, mathematics doesn't seem to be one of them. Much of what I have read about the lives of mathematicians has showed them doing their best work before 30. While they don't stop working they just don't seem to continue in the same manner.
Gauss did quite well, but he keep changing fields of study. Maybe modern mathematicians are being pigeonholed and so lose something important to their work.

Anonymous said...

Well, I was never brilliant in math, but I was good. Going back to the Steve Jobs rants, I didn't even have trouble with the math teacher in school that a couple brilliant kids' parents wanted to toss out of the tenure system. I quit because of things within and beyond my control. In the end I became a homemaker and raised three mathematicians instead, who have all gone far in those fields. I suppose I could test your thinking if you can come back to the subject after dropping it 32 years ago. I still ask questions about it. I still wonder when I am making möbius strip noodles, "HEY, what's going on!" I guess coming back to it would depend on how much heart was in me or how much I lost. Or is this all brain science?

Once on a newsgroup with all these intelligent people, I asked a question, and everyone stopped talking. I thought they were laughing at me for asking a stupid question. They said they were not, but they never addressed a solution or approach to the problem. I was never quite sure of their not laughing at me so I stopped asking questions.

So maybe Gauss never felt laughed at, or did and did not care. Maybe the other mathematicians found the answers and decided it not worth finding anymore which led no where or where you don't want to be. I'm thinking of that Gomez song:

You want out, a bit broke
An' askin me time and time again
And the answer's still the same...

So you either destroy yourself thinking or you go out in the woods as a carpenter, find an old fashioned girl, and do the wondering that a homemaker would do.