« They Got It Right! | Blog Main | Let the countdown begin »

Math Doesn't Suck

Now that's a title! And it's of a book by actress and mathematician Danica McKellar . Yes you read that correctly "actress and mathematician".

Danica is probably best known as Winnie from the Wonder Years; but as an undergraduate at UCLA she co-authored a math proof, proving an original math theorem. For the geeks among us, she even has an Erdős–Bacon number (it's 6). The book and related website are just out. My copy of the book hasn't shown up yet and when it does I'll post about it.

The website and the pieces I've read from the book are very, well, girly, in a worried about broken nails, lip gloss kinda way. An interesting Newsweek article about the book asks "do girls really need a female-friendly math books today?" I'm torn about that. On one hand I know the research that says people do better in mathematics (and science) when the context is familiar to them. On the other hand boy do I worry about the stereotypes this supports. Girls do powder puff math; boys do… More on that after I've read the book.

In the meantime we have a middle school math book written by an actress who says things like:

"Whether you're shy or just a super-considerate person, you may feel tempted to dumb yourself down sometimes to make someone else feel better about themselves...especially guys. But this is dangerous! It's one thing to be considerate, it's another thing entirely to sell yourself short."

Go Danica go!

PS In the spirit of full disclosure I have to tell you I am quoted in the Newsweek piece and I really liked the author
Peg Tyre .