Jose Carillo's Forum


This section features links to interesting, instructive, or thought-provoking readings about the English language and related disciplines. The selections could be anywhere from light and humorous to serious and scholarly, and they range widely from the reading, writing, listening, and speaking disciplines to the teaching and learning of English.

Thinking in numbers as a pleasant antidote for numerophobia

For those with numerophobia or fear of numbers, reading Daniel Tammet’s Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math (Little, Brown & Company, 271 pages) might just prove to be an effective but pleasant antidote. Tammet, a British mathematical savant with Asperger’s syndrome and synaesthesia, has put together in this book 25 fascinating essays that explore mathematics not as a formidable discipline but as “the science of imagination.”

Thinking in Numbers

In Thinking In Numbers, Tammet ponders such highly diverse mathematical curiosities as why randomly formed snowflakes have such perfect symmetry, why time seems to speed up as we age, why the digits of the number pi (3.1416…) never stop and just go on and on without apparent pattern, what calculus might have meant in the mind of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, and how William Shakespeare—as one of the first generation of English schoolboys to learn about 0 in arithmetic—became so obsessed with 0 as a symbolism for nothing that it was to become a recurring motif in the dialogue of many of his plays.

Says The Huffington Post in its review of Thinking In Numbers: “In Tammet’s mind, literature, art and maths are united. For him, maths’ real-life applications are not merely tax returns and restaurant bills, but the storytelling of an infinite subject and the reasoning behind our daily existence.”

Read mathematics professor Jordan Ellenberg’s review of Daniel Tammet’s Thinking In Numbers in the Boston Globe now!

Read Adam Feinstein’s interview of Daniel Tammet about Thinking In Numbers in The Guardian UK now!

Read “Shakespeare defined our concept of nothingness,” an excerpt from Daniel Tammet’s Thinking In Numbers now!

Daniel Tammet, a writer and essayist, was named in a 2007 poll of 4,000 Britons as one of the world’s “100 living geniuses.” He is an autistic savant who perceives words and numbers as shapes and colors and speaks several languages. His memoir, the award-winning New York Times bestseller Born on a Blue Day, has been translated into 24 languages. He is also the author of the international bestseller Embracing the Wide Sky. He was elected in 2012 as a Fellow of Great Britain’s Royal Society of Arts.

In “Who edited Shakespeare?”, an article that came out in the July 12, 2013 issue of The Guardian UK, Saul Frampton argues that the continuing skepticism about the authorship of William Shakespeare’s plays is largely nonsense, and that a more important and interesting question is who edited Shakespeare’s First Folio and whether any substantial changes were made to his original manuscripts. Frampton theorizes that the Folio’s likely “editor in chief” was John Florio, an accomplished linguist and lexicographer who made his mark as a scholar and translator in England in the 1670s.

Read Saul Frampton’s “Who edited Shakespeare?” in The Guardian UK now!

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