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Unreasonable? Moi?

My wife has alerted me to the fact that if you type "unreasonable" into Google then this WebLog comes up as the top hit...

She is, she happily tells her friends, married to the most unreasonable person in the world - and she has Google to prove it.

She is gaining a lot of sympathy this way...

But every cloud has a silver lining.

Further down that list of Google results, I find an excellent article from 1993 by Prof. David Singmaster entitled The Unreasonable Utility of Recreational Mathematics.

In this he points out that:

  • Firstly, recreational problems are often the basis of serious mathematics.
  • Secondly, recreational mathematics has frequently turned up ideas of genuine but non-obvious utility.
  • Thirdly, recreational mathematics has great pedagogic utility.
  • Fourthly, recreational mathematics is very useful to the historian of mathematics.

And he concludes with the observation that "There really is considerable interest in mathematics out there and if we enjoy our subject, it should be our duty and our pleasure to try to encourage and feed this interest. Indeed, it may be necessary for our self-preservation."

Well worth a read.

Follow me on Twitter: @IanYorston

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