Keith Devlin quote

"Mathematical thinking is not the same as doing mathematics - at least not as mathematics is typically presented in our school system. School math typically focuses on learning procedures to solve highly stereotyped problems. Professional mathematicians think a certain way to solve real problems, problems that can arise from the everyday world, or from science, or from within mathematics itself. The key to success in school math is to learn to think inside-the-box. In contrast, a key feature of mathematical thinking is thinking outside-the-box - a valuable ability in today's world."

Keith Devlin

Born: March 16, 1947

Occupation: Mathematician

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More quotes of Keith Devlin

Keith Devlin

I certainly do care about measuring educational results. But what is an 'educational result?' The twinkling eyes of my students, together with their heartfelt and beautifully expressed mathematical arguments...

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Though the structures and patterns of mathematics reflect the structure of, and resonate in, the human mind every bit as much as do the structures and patterns of music, human beings have developed no...

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Keith Devlin

Indeed, nowadays no electrical engineer could get along without complex numbers, and neither could anyone working in aerodynamics or fluid dynamics.

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For all the time schools devote to the teaching of mathematics, very little (if any) is spent trying to convey just what the subject is about. Instead, the focus is on learning and applying various procedures...

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Like a Shakespearean sonnet that captures the very essence of love, or a painting that brings out the beauty of the human form that is far more than just skin deep, Euler's Equation reaches down into the...

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Keith Devlin

There can be very little of present-day science and technology that is not dependent on complex numbers in one way or another.

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Keith Devlin

Just as music comes alive in the performance of it, the same is true of mathematics. The symbols on the page have no more to do with mathematics than the notes on a page of music. They simply represent...

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Keith Devlin

The linear-programming was - and is - perhaps the single most important real-life problem.

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The whole apparatus of the calculus takes on an entirely different form when developed for the complex numbers.

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Keith Devlin

Mathematical thinking is not the same as doing mathematics - at least not as mathematics is typically presented in our school system. School math typically focuses on learning procedures to solve highly...

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What makes it possible to learn advanced math fairly quickly is that the human brain is capable of learning to follow a given set of rules without understanding them, and apply them in an intelligent and...

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Related quote

Keith Devlin

Mathematical thinking is not the same as doing mathematics - at least not as mathematics is typically presented in our school system. School math typically focuses on learning procedures to solve highly...

Read more


Howard Whitley Eves

It is impossible to overstate the imporance of problems in mathematics. It is by means of problems that mathematics develops and actually lifts itself by its own bootstraps... Every new discovery in mathematics,...

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Danica McKellar

My main concern with the condition of mathematics in high school is that there's a lot of fear involved! Math is not, generally speaking, presented in a fun way. The concepts, as I see them, are fun, and...

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Lord Kelvin

The life and soul of science is its practical application, and just as the great advances in mathematics have been made through the desire of discovering the solution of problems which were of a highly...

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Keith Devlin

For all the time schools devote to the teaching of mathematics, very little (if any) is spent trying to convey just what the subject is about. Instead, the focus is on learning and applying various procedures...

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Robert Kanigel

Pi is not merely the ubiquitous factor in high school geometry problems; it is stitched across the whole tapestry of mathematics, not just geometry's little corner of it. Pi occupies a key place in trigonometry...

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Stephen Colbert

So, if I'm no cheerleader of sports, why write a chapter about it? Sports do have some positive impact on society. They solve problems, such as how to get inner-city kids to spend $175 on shoes. They serve...

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Ilchi Lee

In the current era, more than prodigies in mathematics, science, athletics, or art, I believe we need prodigies of good character and integrity. People who have polished their character and integrity until...

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John Golden

The toughest thing for a homeschooler is the same as for a school teacher - shifting from a weak tea vision of math being grinding calculations to a rich frothy mug of math as an active way of thinking.

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Paul Lockhart

In any case, do you really think kids even want something that is relevant to their daily lives? You think something practical like compound interest is going to get them excited? People enjoy fantasy,...

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Cassius Jackson Keyser

If you ask ... the man in the street ... the human significance of mathematics, the answer of the world will be, that mathematics has given mankind a metrical and computatory art essential to the effective...

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James Lovelock

Composing computer programs to solve scientific problems is like writing poetry. You must choose every word with care and link it with the other words in perfect syntax. There is no place for verbosity...

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Paul Lockhart

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Ludwig Wittgenstein

Mathematics is a logical method. . . . Mathematical propositions express no thoughts. In life it is never a mathematical proposition which we need, but we use mathematical propositions only in order to...

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Paul Lockhart

Mathematics is the art of explanation. If you deny students the opportunity to engage in this activity-- to pose their own problems, to make their own conjectures and discoveries, to be wrong, to be creatively...

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Albert Einstein

The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems that we cannot solve at the same level at which we have created them.... We shall require a substantially...

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Albert Einstein

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. We will not solve the problems of the world...

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John von Neumann

The calculus was the first achievement of modern mathematics and it is difficult to overestimate its importance. I think it defines more unequivocally than anything else the inception of modern mathematics;...

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Bob Proctor

Jobs and money are never the primary cause of stress. Thinking, negative thinking causes stress. The real cause of all problems lie in our thoughts, not in things or circumstances. You and I possess...

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Benjamin Carson

What do lawyers learn in law school? They learn to win... What we've got to start thinking about is how do we solve problems.

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Nancy E. Turner

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