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I’ve received quite a lot of inquiries regarding a recent article in the New York Times, so I am borrowing some space on this blog to respond to some of the more common of these, and also to initiate a discussion on maths education, which was briefly touched upon in the article.
Firstly, some links:
- The video for the talk “Structure and randomness in the prime numbers” mentioned in the article can be found here (requires RealPlayer). The slides can be found here. My other expository and research material on number theory can be found here.
- I don’t have any specific advice regarding gifted education, though some articles on my own experiences can be found here. I do however have some thoughts on career advice at the undergraduate level and beyond.
- I have some responses to several other common queries (e.g. regarding books, interviews, invitations, etc.) at my contact information page.
Most of the feedback I received, though, concerned the issue of maths education. I mentioned in the article that I feel that the skill of thinking in a mathematical and rigorous way is one which can be taught to virtually anyone, and I would in the future hope to be involved in some project aimed towards this goal. I received a surprising number of inquiries on this, particularly from parents of school-age children. Unfortunately, my maths teaching experience is almost completely restricted to the undergraduate and graduate levels – and my own school experience was perhaps somewhat unusual – so I currently have close to zero expertise in K-12 maths education. (This may change though as my son gets older…) Still, I think it is a worthy topic of discussion as to what the mathematical academic community can do to promote interest in mathematics, and to encourage mathematical ways of thinking and of looking at the world, so I am opening the discussion to others who may have something of interest to say on these matters.
(Update, March 13: A bad link has been repaired. Also, I can’t resist a somewhat political plug: for Californian readers, there is an open letter in support of California’s K-12 education standards, together with some background information.)