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Tim Gower's Blog post on Maths for non-Mathematicians


Well-known member
Jan 26, 2012
There is a interesting post on Tim Gower's blog which is really about what to teach those in the UK who presently drop maths at age 16 but Education Secretary Michel Gove is proposing to force to study maths up to age 18:


I don't really agree with anything he says, he is talking about a new "A-level" which the students in question are not able and probably not willing to undertake. I also doubt there are enough extra teachers available who are able to teach this material.

I would have suggested a course along the lines of: what is mathematics and why is it interesting. Which ironically could be based on Tim Gower's book "Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction".



Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
Interesting read. I especially liked the problems like this for high school. "How many piano tuners are there in Chicago? [That is a classic example.]" I've never seen but apparently it is classic. Also didn't know that in the UK math study is mandatory only up until 16. In the US I don't think it's done by age but by level. You must complete Algebra I, II and Geometry for sure, perhaps one more course.

I don't know if math should be taught exclusively like this but it certainly makes it more enticing so I would encourage adding these types of problems into any pre-university curriculum.