Foreword: “Five-Minute

Mathematics” in Die Welt

by Dr. Norbert Lossau, editor-in-chief for

science at Die Welt and author of the

column “Five-Minute Physics”

Most people do not harbor any particular aﬀection for mathematics.

They perceive numbers and formulas as diﬃcult, confusing, abstract,

irrelevant. And perhaps it is true that one needs a certain predispo-

sition, analogous to what we call musicality, to develop a passionate

interest in mathematics.

Nevertheless, I am convinced that many mathematical skeptics

would readily take an interest in the queen of the sciences if only

someone would build them a bridge into the fascinating realm of

mathematics. Teachers could build such bridges by packaging math-

ematical lessons in suspense-ﬁlled stories from daily life. What would

be the response, for example, if the discussion of abstract curves were

motivated by a search for the optimal terms of a stock option? Or if

one used geometry to calculate the amount of living space in a geo-

metrically complicated dwelling and the number of rolls of wallpaper

needed for redecorating? And when it comes to prime numbers, a

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