Friday, October 05, 2012

CROCUS 2012 - Let's start at the very beginning...

Once upon a time, my daughter was scared of Math. It was not that she could not comprehend it. It was just a matter of being overwhelmed. She has always been a words person, content with immersing herself in language and literature- not surprising since we've always been passionate about reading.

Until I decided to take things in hand. For, in my mind, the sheer symmetry and perfection of anything in nature, as well as the conscious or subconscious use of math in the arts- paintings, sculptures, music...had much to do with math. Arts here would include language and literature too- they are inextricably interwoven with math. Look at the beauty of poetry- the rhythm, metre, cadence, patterns- they all have to do with math. If the problem is couched in words, one reads the words, translates them into mathematical terms, does the math, and expresses the answer again in terms of words.

Sciences are close cousins to math. They all require the input of data, the use of logic to work through that data, and come up with a solution. These processes, and the conundrums they present, have been there since the beginning of time. Humans have been aware of them and trying to make sense of them, ever since evolution bestowed on them the power of reasoning. The pre-historic uses of available material for cutting and hunting, for protection as clothing or shelter; the procuring and cultivation of food, the use of fire for cooking, are all uses of math and science for survival.

The human body itself is an amazing feat of engineering- the perfect machine. Unlike in lesser animals, the superior intellect of humans is capable of analysing, reasoning and planning. This is the main defence, as well as offence humans have against the stronger forces of nature. Use of science and math enabled humans to provide for their survival, as well as have the time, energy and resources left over to put down cultural roots. All of culture, in its myriad and endless variety, is thus an offspring of the early use of math and science by humans. The fruits of leisure, after the basic necessities have been met.

Our earliest stories, folktales and mythologies, too, have been an effort on the part of mankind to make sense of the amazing phenomena of nature. Sometimes the explanations thought of are in the realm of the fantastic; occasionally, they have come closer to what modern science has attempted to and managed to prove. For what are the stories of the Dashavatar anything other than an amazing attempt at explaining evolution as we now know of?

Subsequent advances in math and the sciences, especially those in the past 2-3 centuries, have done much to ease the lot of humankind, and improved our quality of life. In the process, though, we have been guilty of killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Indiscriminate exploitation of our natural resources have led to an untenable situation in terms of our ecology, If we are to bequeath a live-able world to future generations, we need to do something proactive about protecting the reserves that are still left. As well as work out eco-friendly methods of doing things that will sustain through many more centuries.

Children, and consequently parents, are often frightened of math and the sciences. To them, it is like an alien language. All one needs to do, however, 'is start at the very beginning', as Maria says in The Sound of Music- 'a very good place to start.' For musical notes too follow the logic of math, and that is what makes them so beautiful. Remember Irene from Enid Blyton's Malory Towers series- the music and math genius? That was a well-crafted character.

As for my daughter- as I said earlier, I decided to take things in hand. Clearly, there was something lacking in her mathematical and scientific experience up until then. The Montessori methods used in her early education had instilled a decided proficiency at the subject, yet she was faltering. As I have said, she was being overwhelmed by the enormity of it. Fortunately, math and science have a logic that is like building blocks of a building. Take hold of the basics, and work upwards, one step at a time. All I needed to do, was demonstrate to her that math and science could be fun, sit and work together with the logic and concepts, and viola...math and science are ogres no longer!   

So this is our theme for CROCUS 2012- MATH & ECO-SCIENCE.

And now, *DRUMROLL* unveiling our fabulous flyer- created by our very own in-house artist, Lavanya Karthik.

  
Come and join us in this celebration. And for all our readers - please share - blog about it, or share on Facebook, Twitter, or any other means you can think of. For you, the readers, are who we write for. Participate, and have fun! As Albert Einstein has famously said, "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."

11 comments:

ranjani.sathish said...

Lovely way of introducing our theme and showing how Math is such an integral part of our life ! I am a die hard fan of this subject..so I am all smiles :-))

Sangi said...

Very nice! Looking forward to some awesome books. You guys are very bad for the pocket but more than worth it in real life terms!

Go, Saffrontree!

Arundhati said...

nicely done Sandhya. Love how you've tied everything together. Nodding vigorously at symmetry in nature, math in music, art and poetry...

Tharini said...

Math! What an interesting theme for this year. Excited to see the books in store! :)

Lavanya....you have earned my respect for life! Flyer is terrific!

Zoe said...

Can't wait to read all the posts in this year's festival!

Praba Ram said...

Well-crafted, fine piece of writing from the one and only Sandhya! Great to get a glimpse into your Math and Science love! And how logically words flow in your mind - shows in the structured planning of this write-up. That is one Math-loving brain indeed! :)Couldnt agree with you more on the "kill-the-golden-egg-laying- goose"

Lavanya Karthik's flyer rocks as always!

We're all so grateful for the terrific flyer that never ceases to amaze us, each and every year. Thank you, Lavanya! Please accept a collective, group bow! :)

Thank you ladies! Let the celebrations begin!! :)

Praba Ram said...

Great to see all the comments. Thnks for dropping in at the tree house! :)

Vibha said...

Beautiful write up Sandhya. Enjoyed reading it...

ssstoryteller said...

Super, was just looking for stories on Math...

Keep it rolling!!

Sheela said...

A superb intro to our CROCUS theme this year, Sandhya! Math is indeed a brilliant human endeavor - a language, a tool, a way of organizing and understanding our world... and I can't wait to see the array of books on the subject coming up here at ST!

Uma said...

Looking forward to CROCUS as always... and Math to me, is intriguing - I never quite figured it out ;)
And, what a lovely flyer!

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