A worry from Keith Devlin

The Death Of Mathematics


Are we about to see advances in mathematics come to an end? Until last year, I would have said no. Now I am not so sure.
We have,

it seems, become so accustomed to working on a keyboard, and generating nicely laid out pages, we are rapidly losing, if indeed we have not already lost, the habit—and love—of scribbling with paper and pencil. Our presentation technologies encourage form over substance. But if (free-form) scribbling goes away, then I think mathematics goes with it. You simply cannot do original mathematics at a keyboard. The cognitive load is too great.

Universities and A-levels

In the two weeks since I posted my election statement blog, A-level reform has featured in the news more than once. The TES article below shows that how universities should be involved with A-levels, already unclear, is becoming contentious.

Some structure is required to allow HE mathematics to play a part in the review of A-level. To me this is part of a wider problem of curriculum design and maintenance which we currently have in England. I am not an expert on educational systems worldwide, but I believe that many countries have a standing committee for the development and review of the school curriculum. I believe that it would be valuable to have some such structure in England, and that the LMS, working with others, should be able to contribute to the design of a body with the working title ‘Standing Committee for Mathematics’. Continue reading