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On Lagrange April 9, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in science.

I highly recommend a recent post from Deepak on European mathematicians from the 19th century. And during my random surfing found 2 interesting facts about Lagrange –

– He was one of the only 2 out of his 11 ‘siblings’ to have survived infancy !!

– He believed that a mathematician has not thoroughly understood his own work till he has made it so clear that he can go out and explain it to the first person he meets on the street.

I am not a mathematician but neverthless am thinking of what of all the mathematics that I have learnt can ( or would want to ) explain to “first person I meet on the street” unless ofcourse that happens to be a fellow graduate student – the probabilty of which is so small ( unless again I am walking on campus !! ) !

Calculus would be really hard. Cordinate geometry is appealing, but to a layman ? Well, probability – forget it.

I would probably chose to explain to him/her the meaning of the phrase “on an average”. It is believed that we all have an intuitive sense of the word “average” – I hope that might aid my process and help me do a good job to explaining it to someone. Well, on an average atleast !



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