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How Low Can You Go?

How would you respond if you were asked to describe the low point in your school career?

Linda Ellerbee (respected journalist, author, and producer of Nick News for Nickelodeon) had a surprising response: "The fact that I never learned my multiplication tables past seven."

Now, with all due respect to Ms. Ellerbee, this is not a low in my book of life. At least she knew 7 x 8 = 56, which is considered to be the hardest single-digit multiplication fact.

I can think of many other lows, such as students never knowing about the golden ratio, the reason the area of a circle is A = (pi)r2, the Banach-Tarski paradox, why pi may not always be 3.14..., non-Euclidean geometry, that there are interesting people lurking behind the mathematics, etc. My list of missing or untaught items could go on forever, a fact which could also be considered a low.

Source: Eutopia, December 2006, p. 56