## Using Math To Tell A Lie

A more appropriate heading for this would be “How a logical truth can be a lexical lie”, but hey, gotta have that clickbaity title. But nevertheless, I will frame this article as if I am addressing the title.

Apparently, sociologists/psychologists classify lies with a three tier system; primary, secondary, and tertiary. According to an article on Psychology Today, children as young as 2-3 tell have developed the ability to tell lies. And children of age 7-8 have developed the skill to tell what is dubbed “tertiary lies”, which are lies that are “more consistent with known facts and follow-up statements”.

But how does telling a lie relate to mathematics? And exactly what tools can you use for such?

There exists a branch of logic, where logic is a branch of math, called propositional logic. Propositional logic is all about combining statements. A  statement is something you proclaim, that is either true or false.…

## 0.1 Sets

If like me, you’ve spent most of your mathematical high school years introduced to basic sets at the beginning of the year from Grades 8 to 12, then I think you’d agree that sets was one of the quickest and easiest sections we traditionally did. We would quickly recap the same fundamental properties of sets before moving onto more interesting topics, usually algebra. The section would go a little bit like this:

• define the differences between whole and natural numbers, integers, rational numbers and real numbers
• define the differences between unions, intersections and complements, usually through the understanding of Venn-diagrams
• use set builder notation (introducing algebra through this)

If like myself, you truly believed that this was as complicated as sets could ever get, then you, dear reader, like my former-myself, are in for a treat. In university, we build on these basic ideas and have a more in depth understanding about the importance of sets and their greater role in the scheme of mathematics.…

## First year mathematics experience enhancement – a question for you!

I am coming to you today with questions. Well, questions based on some of my own ideas…

This year I will be not only teaching, but entirely in charge of the UCT first year mathematics for scientists courses, known as MAM1000W. I have a number of changes I plan on making, not so much to the syllabus, but to the extra activities associated with the course, in an attempt to make it as rich and deep a learning experience as I can.

The first step of this has been altering the structure of the resource book. The resource book is a PDF which will be sent to all first years taking the course. Historically, it contains a little about the course content, a bit about how your marks will be calculated, a bit about good practice in terms of how to work, and then the second half is filled with tutorial questions.…