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Wisconsin Mathematician Shows The Power Of Mathematical Thinking In New Book


For most of us, math is terrifying.  Even if we did well in school, few of us see how math has anything to do with our everyday lives, save for calculating a tip or a batting average.

Wisconsin mathematician Jordan Ellenberg says we need to rethink our relationship with math.

Ellenberg, the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Mathematics at UW-Madison, visited with us in the Lake Effect studio recently, and told Bonnie North why he believes we don’t already get that math is part of everything, and why most people are raised to be intimidated by math.

"Some people see the mathematician as a kind of very big calculator on two legs whose job is to give the right answer when asked a question," says Ellenberg. "But in reality, the role of mathematics is to formulate the right questions."

Jordan Ellenberg’s new book is called called How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.