Paint by Numbers: Picturing Math for a Lifetime of Success

Apr 2, 2012 | Summit

It is tempting to compare our brains to computers, but when it comes to speed, a neuron takes its time, sending signals at a maximum of 180 miles (280 km) per hour, the top speed of a Formula One racecar, or a quarter of the speed of sound. In comparison, an electrical circuit approaches the speed of light, which is 671 million miles (1.08 billion km) per hour. Clearly, speed is not our strong suit when we are pitted against a circuit board. Our advantage is understanding – not mindlessly crunching ones and zeros. Yet for some reason, math educators continue to emphasize speed at the expense of humanity's greater gifts of interpretation and problem solving.

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