Home > Food for Thought, Science, Teaching > Cicadas and the Mathematical Brilliance of Nature | Endless Innovation | Big Think

Cicadas and the Mathematical Brilliance of Nature | Endless Innovation | Big Think

Cicadas and the Mathematical Brilliance of Nature | Endless Innovation | Big Think.

This article brilliantly and succinctly discusses how Nature demonstrates the principles we use in mathematics.  While math frequently seems to be disconnected from reality, hopelessly abstract and difficult to comprehend, it is really a discipline that can help us to understand and explain our world.

Reading this short article, I was reminded of a great book that I now plan to introduce to my 12 year old son.  The book is The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure, by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.  In the book, Robert, a boy who hates math, meets the Number Devil, who teaches Robert the beauty and wonder of math in a series of 12 dreams.  Full of wit, wonder, and fiendish charm, Enzensberger creates realistic worlds that make prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, and infinite numbers real, finite, understandable, and fun.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be doing more of this in our schools than taking the fun out of study and making it all seem so difficult that it just doesn’t seem worth the trouble?

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