Girish Venkatachalapathy
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TEDxDELFT 2015 | Gerardo Soto y Koelemeijer | Let’s change math education


“Welcome to math class,” were the words of the mathematician Gerardo Soto y Koelemeijer, as he made his poetic walk across the TEDxDelft stage. After all, the next 540 seconds on the stage were indeed his’.

Working as a Math teacher at a secondary school in Haarlem, Soto y Koelemeijer completed his PhD in Mathematical Systems Theory from TU Delft. Later, as he found a proclivity towards literature and culture, he graduated in Languages ​​and Cultures of Latin America at the University of Leiden. He has also has two novels to his name.

Given the multifaceted person that he is, Soto y Koelemeijer, with reference to some famous theories of the past, sheds light on the complexity that math projects projected to most individuals, including the great mathematicians. He says, “Imaginary numbers are mental tortures. Too many students do not follow math due to its complexity. I like to read math and imagine stories on it. After all, math has been an important element of human culture for thousands of years.” With his expertise in such diverse fields, Soto y Koelemeijer relates the various elements of math to culture and literature, and how they complement one another. He focusses on modifying the way math is taught, inclining it more towards creativity.

“In my lectures I tell stories, instead of explaining theorems and proofs as such. Without stories, I feel, some important parts are left out and become unaddressed.” All the more reason why he feels that math and culture are two ends of the same twine.

Girish Venkatachalapathy

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