It is unfortunate that many bright, numerate children are put off by dull and unimaginative maths lessons at school.
Dr Hannah Fry (pictured), the mathematics lecturer at UCL who is best known to the public for presenting numbers-related BBC TV and Radio programmes such as Calculating Ada: The Countess of Computing and Music by Numbers and for her popular TED talk The Mathematics of Love is keen to help kids bridge the gap.
"I liked maths at school," she says. "I saw it as a series of puzzles where you learn the rules. That's not why I like maths now, though. First of all I became enamoured about how elegant it is, and I stayed in it because I think it's an unbelievable powerful language that allows you to see the real world from different perspective."
Maths will never be an 'easy' subject to teach, particularly in its more abstract forms, but its cause is certainly not helped by the meddling of politicians and those who write the curriculum, she believes.
"For me one of things that has changed is a real emphasis on exam performance. I think that has dampened down some of the more enjoyable aspects of mathematics. Teachers have a really tough job teaching to the exam while keeping the subject alive," she told V3.
"There is this perception that the answers are in the back of the textbook. That has no joy in it and no creativity and presents no opportunity to see the world in a different way. I think that's a real shame."
One way that creativity is being reintroduced is is through technology, she added.
"I think the Raspberry Pi and the BBC micro:bit can be very helpful. They were originally computer science initiatives, but they're doing an awful lot to bring out mathematical ideas too, because there's so much overlap between the two, mathematical thinking and algorithmic thinking. It's simple programming like the ZX Spectrum I had when I was a kid."
The media has a role to play too. Popularisers of maths and science have included the likes of Patrick Moore, Carl Sagan, Johnny Ball and Marcus du Sautoy. Fry reels off a list of others such as YouTube personality and maths communicator Matt Parker, author of Why Do Buses Come in Threes? Rob Eastaway, football correspondent and maths author Alex Bellos, YouTube pioneer the Khan Institute, and, she adds modestly, "perhaps some of the stuff I do."
Fry's recent presentation at the dataIQ Future event included a demonstration as to how the geographical spread of the residences of serial killer Dr Harold Shipman's victims could have led police to his door much earlier, how Twitter can map the locations of different langauge speakers in London, predicting the oestrus cycle in cows in order to breed more female calves, and the different ways that men and women rate each other on online dating sites (not good news for men, by the way).
She also noted that clicking on the first proper link in any Wikipedia page will eventually lead you, after doing the same thing on all subsequent pages, to the page on Philosophy.
"On the one hand you've got the tangible world, the one you're living in and clicking links and not really knowing what's going on, and simultaneously you have this parallel mathematical world that can only be described by equations," she said, adding that such discoveries are as far from the hated maths textbook as you can get.
"For me data provides a bridge between those two universes, from the real world to the mathematical one where all this insight and intuition lies. Once you see things in this way, all of human behaviour is open to your discovery." she said.
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