An engaging webinar on “How to remove Math Phobia among the young” was organised by Sanskruti Centre for Cultural Excellence recently. The session was delivered by the Fastest Human Calculator of the World Neelakantha Bhanu, the prodigy who broke Shakuntala Devi’s records at the age of 15. Neelakantha Bhanu holds 4 world records, 50 Limca Book records and became the first Indian in 25 years to win Gold Medal in Mental Calculation at the prestigious Mind Sports Olympiad in London recently.
Lord Rami Ranger CBE, himself multiple-time Queen’s Award recipient has rendered opening words and commended Bhanu for demonstrating excellence in a challenging subject like Mathematics. He also reiterated the role of mathematics in scientific, medical, and technological innovations. Bhanu spoke on his mission and vision of solving social problems at a national level, acknowledging how policy and politics can drive changes.
Citing his own journey and how he has taken maths as a subject, sport, and an art form, Bhanu explained the global movement called Vision Maths through which math phobia can be broken down and eradicated strategically via brain training.
He underscored that mathematical knowledge is intuitional and interestingly pointed out reasons for math phobia. While drawing parallels with language learning, he explained how the focus on mathematical theory drifts kids away extensively, with 4 out of every 5 kids being math-phobic. He has explained how Exploring Infinities is engaging with about 20 consulates across the world, and how workshops, shows, and interventions into education can be a three-phased structure through which the mathematical face of a country can change.
He has interestingly explained the difference between math and arithmetic, distinguishing arithmetic as being able to do calculations, and mathematics- thinking logically which could lead to other aspects such as statistics, algebra, etc.
If the mathematics is a sea, the first waves that hit the young are arithmetic calculations, it becomes more interesting if they are made to understand why they are doing what they are doing, than prescribing the historical methods. He also stressed that cognitive abilities can be improved if math is promoted as a sport. He demonstrated the link between speed of thought and calculations, showing what a human brain is capable of. He concludes by emphasising that mathematical calculations are beautiful when put to real-life contexts, which makes people better thinkers.