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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