We have a problem with mathematics. Half of the UK’s adults live with nothing more than the mathematical skills they learned at primary school, and many people experience a tangible fear when facing anything to do with numbers. The root of the problem lies in the fact that no one is ever taught what maths actually is.
In this talk, Michael Brooks lays out the essence of mathematics, explains why it muddles our brains and explores the reasons humans have persevered with it when other species rarely bother counting beyond 3.
Animals tend to refer to this uncharted territory as just “more”, but it is here that human uniqueness is found. Once we understand how mathematics – the art of more — connects ancient Babylon to modern banking, world heritage architecture to the worldwide web, and the I-Ching to the iPhone, we can begin to see mathematics as more than just a maze of numbers: we see it as the pinnacle of human achievement.
Michael Brooks is a science writer with a PhD in quantum physics, and the author of several books, including the bestselling 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense and The Quantum Astrologer’s Handbook, a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year.