LIFE

Mathematical creativity

MATHEMATICS, THEY say, is the king of all arts and queen of all sciences. But it remains a subject that at once inspires joy in half the population of youngsters and fear in the other half. The fact remains it can be the most creative avocation when pursued with childish vigour.

Sunday last passed with not many realising as the 116th birth anniversary of the great mathematical genius Srinivasan Ramanujan, an occasion which the Ramanujan Museum and Math Education Centre (RMMEC) at Royapuram observed as "Creativity Day". A few hours that day was allotted fully to children, seven of whom coming from different schools, presented an array of mathematical concepts. Using slides S. Kothai (IX) and G. Seshasayee (VIII) showed how `families' of lines on a graph appear to a mathematical eye and how other lines could tell stories. And how the famous hare and tortoise tale can be retold using a set of lines. V. Narayanan (III) and S. Hariharan (IV) showed how school algebra can be started for early learns using "pattern language", while S. Monica (V) and R.Retheesh Krishnan (VI) completed the round with `design language'.

The mother and daughter combination of Rajee Kannan and Aarti carried on a dialogue "using mathlang".

Mathematical creativity

The Executive Director of the Periyar Science and Technology Centre, Iyamperumal, who presided commended the innovative efforts of the children as also that of the Director-Curator of the RMMEC, P.K. Srinivasan, and offered to provide technical help in the form of creating CD-Roms to use the innovations within the curriculum. Indira Narasingha Rao, who holds the Limca records for creating 1000 x 1000 magic square, released a booklet "Sustaining thoughts for a caring and sharing society".

The audience had another final surprise — a Western music rendering of Greg Huber's composition, whose notes matched the first 100 digits of the value of `Pi'.

The Museum secretary, A.T.B. Bose, wanted the RMMEC model to be replicated in all State capitals to inspire potential young geniuses and make math learning exciting.

By Ramachandran K.