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Professor: Fractions should be scrapped

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Filed: Country: Philippines
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By Maureen Milford, USA TODAY

PHILADELPHIA — A few years ago, Dennis DeTurck, an award-winning professor of mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, stood at an outdoor podium on campus and proclaimed, "Down with fractions!"

"Fractions have had their day, being useful for by-hand calculation," DeTurck said as part of a 60-second lecture series. "But in this digital age, they're as obsolete as Roman numerals are."

The speech started a firestorm, particularly after the university posted it online.

"There were blogs and rants, and there were some critical e-mails," said DeTurck, who is now dean of the college of arts and sciences at Penn. "They'd always boil down to: 'What would we do in cooking and carpentry?' "

DeTurck is stirring the pot again, this time in a book scheduled to be published this year. Not only does he favor the teaching of decimals over fractions to elementary school students, he's also taking on long division, the calculation of square roots and by-hand multiplication of long numbers.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/maths...m?se=yahoorefer

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Oh, and 2/3 .. can not be accurately expressed in decimal format. Not without an infinite number of numbers, that is.

But it can be in a radix-3 system. :innocent:

Base 10 and 2 are hard enough on dumb 4th and 8th graders. Base 3 to top it all off? Fuhhgeddaboutit.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Filed: Country: United Kingdom
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Oh, and 2/3 .. can not be accurately expressed in decimal format. Not without an infinite number of numbers, that is.

But it can be in a radix-3 system. :innocent:

Base 10 and 2 are hard enough on dumb 4th and 8th graders. Base 3 to top it all off? Fuhhgeddaboutit.

Try base 10 (or even negative 10), with digits between -9 and 9 (a redundant number system where numbers have multiple representations.)

123 (base 10) = 1 3 (-7) (base 10) = 1 (-2) 3 (base -10) = 1 (-3) (-7) (base -10)

Or base Pi (digits = 0, 1, 2, 3). Pi in base pi is "1". Very nice. Unfortunately, natural numbers are represented by infinite sequences of digits :P


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whew boy, Granny look at that boy add


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But when we turn to the Hebrew literature, we do not find such jokes about the donkey. Rather the animal is known for its strength and its loyalty to its master (Genesis 49:14; Numbers 22:30).

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my burro, bosco ..enjoying a beer in almaty

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Canada
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Fractions are not obsolete. That guy's a moron.

I would love to see him work out advanced differential equations and integrations without using fractions.

Fractions work wonderfully in algebra in order to keep values managable. If you start dividing them out before the final iteration, you will end up with a compounding error.


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