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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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Triangle of power

8 minutes

Maths notation is needlessly complex. It can and should be better

Making students learn to execute similar operations using three different kinds of notation – as in the case of exponents, logarithms and roots – is a bit like asking them to learn to say the same thing in three different languages for no good reason. With such counterintuitive and redundant standardised notation systems, it’s easy to understand why many students become overwhelmed by mathematics and choose to pursue fields where complex calculations aren’t necessary. This video by Grant Sanderson, who makes films under the moniker 3Blue1Brown, looks at how expressing exponents, logarithms and roots could be made simpler by using one elegant notation system, and makes a broader case for how maths could be made more accessible by developing cleaner – and perhaps even artful – notation.

Video by 3Blue1Brown

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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