Digits Dice Data

Graphics and drawings in the exhibition are by artist Teresa Sdralevich

Numbed By Numbers (Diamo i numeri – DIN) is a project that aims to bring mathematics closer to young people and adult audiences without taking the place of school, but creating a nonformal way of encountering knowledge where the individual’s experience, pleasure and emotions can come into play. Mathematics, from being an excellent science, a synonym for wisdom, a bridge between cultures, has too often become a hated or resented discipline. Paradoxically, this is happening at a time when rains of data, of numbers that are increasingly difficult to handle and interpret, are being generated at every moment. From an early age we need to familiarize ourselves with all this, little by little, to become conscious citizens of a world in which knowing how to count also helps us live better.

“The mathematician is an imaginative person. Like the poet or the painter. I always tell children the story of Gauss, who lived in Germany between the 18th and 19th centuries. One day at school the teacher, as punishment, gives the task of adding up all the numbers from one to 100. Crazy stuff! But Gauss comes up with a trick: he adds up 1+100, that is, the first and the last number in the list; then 2+99, 3+98… And he discovers that it always makes 101. Since there are 100 numbers, he has to sum 50 pairs that together make 101. Gauss multiplies 101×50 and turns in the assignment first. He was 8 years old and a very imaginative child: he became one of the most important mathematicians in history.”

Bruno D’Amore, mathematician and pedagogue, University of Bologna