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Secondary Magazine - Issue 33: The interview

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 29 April 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 11 May 2009 by ncetm_administrator

Secondary Magazine Issue 33

The Interview

Name: Anne Watson

About you: I was a mathematics teacher for many years and now I help train new mathematics teachers and also find out how people can learn mathematics with more interest and understanding.

The most recent use of mathematics in your job was... thinking about how amazing trigonometry is: that you can work out so many things if you understand its basic ideas – ratio, rotation, angles and how to write it all down.

Some mathematics that amazed you is... that trigonometry tells us about everything that comes in waves: sound, light, radio and – well – waves! Surf - n - trig. 

Why mathematics?  It’s got the lot – mystery, surprise, elegance, power, sometimes a satisfactory conclusion (but not always) and cliff-hangers. It has good raging arguments, and its own language. It doesn’t hurt too much most of the time, and it has the ‘ever after’. Although maths makes weapons, it can also make peace, green technology, fairer distribution. 

Your favourite/most significant mathematics-related anecdote is… I heard someone say that it is amazing that our minds can comprehend that infinity is in the smallest possible thing, and in the largest possible thing.

A mathematics joke that makes you laugh is… (overheard on a train) Granny to grandson aged about four: “What’s two and two? Look, look at my fingers, what’s two and two?” (Granny goes on like this for about five minutes.) After a time, grandson: “Bunnies”.  
Something else that makes you laugh is... a jam sandwich is better than nothing. Nothing is better than champagne. Therefore a jam sandwich is better than champagne.
Your favourite television programme is… Antiques Roadshow – at my age it’s the only outing I get.
Your favourite ice-cream flavour is... choco, nutty, fudgy, toffee, crunchy whatever. 
Who inspired you? Georg Pólya.
If you weren’t doing this job you would… hide under the duvet, I love my job.
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