Is mathematics more than just a single subject and what do we lose by teaching it in isolation? Ireland’s medieval heritage can provide tantalising hints at the answer. It suggests that mathematics is more a way of thinking that has applications from art and astronomy, to music and geometry. Moreover mathematical skills were considered intrinsic to intellectual, literary and artistic expression.
Ireland has a rich tradition of scientific endeavour, yet today uptake of mathematics is dismal. Does this suggest that the complex mathematical skills found in Irish monastic schools should be considered as a way forward for modern teaching?
The panel will argue that medieval education is relevant today. Indeed Dan Shechtman’s Nobel Prize-winning work on quasicrystals has connections to Kepler’s 16th Century work on Platonic solids and Fibonacci’s 13th Century aperiodic number sequences.
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