Some people think they just can't do math, but it turns out our brains are hard-wired for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. We're born with a numbers sense. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge celebrating our mathematical minds. Also, the natural history of zero, math theorems that make people crazy, and code cracking quantum computers.
Neuropsychologist Brian Butterworth tells Jim Fleming about his work with people who've lost their numbers sense. Butterworth thinks we're all hard-wired to recognize and manipulate numbers. His book is "What Counts: How Every Brain is Hardwired for Math." Also, Greek novelist, film-maker and former mathematician Apostolos Doxiadis tells Judith Strasser about his new novel "Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture" in which a man becomes obsessed with solving a mathematical proof.SEGMENT 2:
New York Times science writer George Johnson walks Steve Paulson through the weird world of quantum mechanics and speculates about building quantum computers, and what they'd be capable of doing. They'd be so fast, the speediest existing supercomputer, would be left in the dust!SEGMENT 3:
Joan Richards teaches the history of mathematics at Brown University. Her book, "Angles of Reflection: Logic and A Mother's Love," chronicles how her faith in mathematical laws was shaken when her son suffered a seizure. Also, Robert Kaplan is the founder of The Math Circle and author of "The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero." He tells Jim Fleming that people had a lot of trouble accepting a mathematical symbol for the idea of nothing.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 00-04-30-B.
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