Brainy Figuring

In pondering the possible relations between inventive thought in mathematics and bodily phenomena, the mathematician Jacques Hadamard (1865-1963) sounded a note of despair in his 1945 book The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field. “While mathematicians have not sufficient knowledge of neurology, neurologists cannot be expected to penetrate deeply (as would be necessary) into…

Bill Newsome’s Neural Basis of Behavior

Dr. William Newsome is sitting at his PC computer grumbling. “Do you know what IBM stands for?” Newsome asks in a slight Southern drawl. “It stands for ‘I’m Building a Mac’,” he quips, displaying quick-witted charm and ardent loyalty to the Macintosh operating system. Dr. Newsome, an associate professor of neurobiology at Stanford University, is…

Number Blindness: A Hidden Challenge for Mathematics

Educators often worry that some students just don’t “get” math. In truth, some fundamental difficulties with math may be indicators of mild dyscalculia, or “number blindness.” It’s hard to imagine an aspect of daily life that is not touched by numerical ideas: telephone numbers, street addresses, radio stations, bus schedules, currency, and time all depend…