Unfortunately, math understanding seems to follow the DNA pattern. We’re taught the modern, rigorous definition and not the insights that led up to it. We’re left with arcane formulas (DNA) but little understanding of what the idea is. [...] not all starting points are equal. The right perspective makes math click — and the mathematical “cavemen” who first found an idea often had an enlightening viewpoint. Let’s learn how to build our intuition.

*via* Brent Yorgey

Thanks for posting that.

I got a degree in maths but always felt I wasn’t a mathematician. I couldn’t produce maths, just reproduce. I wasn’t bad, and did pure applied and statistics equally in my final year. I could get immersed in the world. Occasionally a lecturer would talk about the history (actually it was one statistics lecturer – I remember him talking about Florence Nightingales contributions). I always wanted background, to know people’s deadends in thinking, but there didn’t seem to be time for that.

There is still a lot to learn from the ingenuity of final solutions. In real life though, I find a series of dead ends and frustrations and imperfections.

I got what I asked for for Christmas which was Euler – The Master of Us All. It’s a good read and gives the context for his insights.