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Talk, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

September 25 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

from event website:

Opening Session Keynote

Is Math Real? How Simple Questions Lead Us to Mathematics’ Deepest Truths

Wednesday, September 25, 2024
5:30 – 7:00 PM


Where does math come from: from rules in a textbook? From logic and deduction? Not quite. In this talk Eugenia Cheng will argue that math comes from human curiosity – most importantly, from asking questions. Many people are discouraged from asking these questions in school, thinking they’re too simple to be taken seriously, or being told that their questions are stupid. But often, these simple-sounding questions lead to wondrous mathematical revelations. Dr. Cheng will take us on a journey of discovery starting with questions like “Why does 2×3 = 3×2?” and “What’s the point of math?” leading us into research-level abstract mathematics. The journey will take us via food, music, hairstyles, and other unexpected topics, revealing how profound insights can emerge from seemingly unlikely sources, and showing that being the kid who asked “But, why does 1+1=2?” could be more important than being the kid who always got the right answers.