Mathematical Education and Research


    THE annual meeting of the Mathematical Association was held at King's College, London, on Saturday, January 25. The proceedings bear abundant testimony to the great changes which are taking place in the methods of teaching mathematics, and show that these changes are not confined to the subject of elementary geometry. Mr. W. J. Dobbs showed what useful work could be done by means of simple home-made apparatus in the teaching of mechanics, his apparatus consisting merely of spiral springs with cardboard scales attached for illustrating applications of the parallelogram law, and suspended sticks for illustrating the principle of the lever and the balance. He further showed how the solution of problems on accelerated motion could be greatly simplified by the application of direct methods not involving such restrictions as to units as are necessary in working with “poundals” or “slugs.” Mr. C. O. Tuckey made a distinct step in advance in his suggestions as to the methods of introducing the properties of convergent series to students who require these series principally in the study of the calculus, and it is interesting to compare his views with those which prevailed twenty or thirty years ago, when the calculus was regarded as something sacred which should not be handled by students until they had passed through a lengthy period of probation in working with algebraic series. Mr. F. J. W. Whipple's lantern-slides, showing how the convergency of certain trigonometric series could be illustrated by diagrams drawn by mere beginners, were a revelation to those who had approached the subject by the study of pages of long formulas. Mr. W. E. Bryan suggested a very original way of introducing similar figures in geometry, a method which, however, may well form a basis of further discussion and criticism. An apparatus for drawing rectangular hyperbolas was shown by Mr. H. L. Trachtenberg.

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    Mathematical Education and Research . Nature 77, 331 (1908).

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