Sanjoy Mahajan’s new book "Street-Fighting Mathematics" takes a practical approach to teaching Math

Published in: MIT News, March 29, 2010

Rough Calculations: Sanjoy Mahajan’s new book Street-Fighting Mathematics , lays out practical tools for educated guessing and down-and-dirty problem-solving

Time for some quick arithmetic: Is 3600 x 4.4 x 104 x 32 larger or smaller than 3 x 109?

Finding the right answer, says Sanjoy Mahajan, associate director for teaching initiatives at MIT’s Teaching and Learning Laboratory, does not require crafting a long, tedious calculation. Instead, the key to solving this problem — and many others — lies in having informal tools on hand that let us attack the problem. Though the result may not be perfectly precise, he believes, intuitive mathematical reasoning is often sufficient for our needs.

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