The New York Times
January 4, 2002
To the editor,
"Madam, I'm 2002 - a Numerically Beautiful Year" (Op-Ed, Jan 2) by Alfred S. Posamentier, does not completely explain the beauty of mathematics. It lies not only in the interesting things that happen when we play with numbers, but in the fact that we can understand why such things happen.
It will not help our children to study palindromes to the exclusion of long division. One is a cute dead end, while the other goes to the heart of our number system. Making math attractive to students and teachers does not have to mean skipping the good parts.
New York, Jan 2, 2002
The writer is a professor of mathematics, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University.
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