The idea of a “seminar” provides us a vast metaphor, offering infinite roads to travel and pathways to pursue: Poems and Free-writes, Language Arts and Current Events, History and Geography, and much much more. Today, we’ll get to something we’ve been missing up until now: the wide and wonderful world of Mathematics. Of course, everything we humans produce is created in context, and the stuttering cliche that math is just the objective truth neither explains nor justifies the manipulation, deception, damage, and fraud as well as the beauty and power that flies at us from every direction in the name of facts and figures—the mantle of math. Numbers don’t express the gospel—they can easily hide injustices and conceal reality. We’re joined in conversation today with Kari Kakko, an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Pittsburgh, and one of the most thoughtful people working today to rescue math from the many myths and misunderstandings that seem to cling to it like a tangle of ugly barnacles.
Whenever you fill out an official form, you’re asked certain predictable questions: name, DOB, address, gender, and so on. Make a list of 5-10 items that might typically appear on your statistical profile. Now pause the podcast and write an autobiographical sketch that says something of fundamental importance about yourself that was entirely missed by the facts and the figures.