Paul Lockhart

Before its release in 2009, Paul Lockhart’s A Mathematician’s Lament achieved samizdat-style popularity in the mathematics underground for seven years. This popularity led to its publication in 2009, met with even broader appreciation and controversy. An impassioned critique of mathematics education from kindergarten through high school highlighted how we cheat pupils by teaching them math incorrectly while they are young. In this section, Lockhart presents the optimistic side of the tale of mathematics education by demonstrating the correct way to do mathematical operations. Math anxiety can be permanently alleviated by the study of measurement, which presents mathematics to us in the context of an artistic way of thinking and living.

Lockhart makes mathematics approachable without oversimplifying the material by writing in a conversational style that reflects the author’s enthusiasm for the topic. He does not try to conceal the difficulty of mathematics, nor does he strive to protect us from the stunning profundity of its beauty. He successfully makes complicated notions concerning the mathematics of shape and motion understandable and easy to understand because he uses straightforward English rather than mathematical formulas and jargon. His insightful exploration of mathematical logic and motifs in classical geometry provides evidence for his opinion that mathematics sheds light on art in the same way it does on science.