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via DNA : Launched earlier this month, How to be a Mathemagician? is the third book by 41-year-old Aditi Singhal, who was awarded the title, The Best Memory Trainer, by The India Book of Records.

Aditi Singhal and Sudhir Singhal

“Magic fascinates everyone. This book will definitely make everyone fall in love with numbers as maths will not remain just a subject anymore,” says Sudhir Singhal, Aditi’s husband, who co-authored the previous two books — How to Become a Human Calculator, and How to Memorize Anything. Sudhir is also a memory trainer.

In 2008, the couple were introduced to Vedic Maths by a friend. Learning a five-second technique to solve long multiplications is all it took to make the duo learning more about Vedic maths. The next thing they knew — Aditi set up the Dynamic Mind Group, a creative learning, mind and memory training organisation.

“Often, students can’t relate to what they learn in Maths class with real-world problems, and thus lose interest in the subject. In fact, many develop a phobia for Maths,” explains Sudhir.

Teaching thousands of students over a span of 18 years, the couple realised that students who are exposed to thought-provoking puzzles, unusual questions and games based on mathematical concepts, develop better thinking skills, which eventually enhances creativity.

“Positive feedback inspired us to pen down the activities and tricks for the benefit of those who can’t attend our workshops,” says the couple, who created a Guinness World Record in Mathematics by teaching the times tables till 99 to 3,245 students. They also hold three Limca Book records for the fastest calculation and memory.

Going beyond the mind

This double-sided book is all about day-to-day queries that can be related to Maths. There are chapters on different tricks — guessing one’s age by the size of one’s shoes, giving out the answer before knowing the question, etc. Along with each trick, there’s a note on ‘math behind the magic’.

That’s not all. There are chapters on answering mind-bending questions. For instance, the question ‘Which pizza do you prefer?’ reveals why the author chose a 12-inch pizza over the offer of two 8-inch pizzas, which his children couldn’t initially comprehend. The solution is explained through the concept of the area of a circle – that of two 8-inch pizzas is 32 π square inches versus a 12-inch pizza that’s 36π square inches. Likewise, if you fold a sheet of paper in half, fifty times, how thick do you think the resulting paper will be? Turns out, the thickness will be 3/4 of the distance from earth to the sun.

Vedic Maths to save time

Vedic Mathematics was rediscovered from the Vedas by Sri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji Maharaj (1884-1960) between 1911 and 1918. Aditi says, “As people believe it’s related to Hinduism they are not open to exploring it. However, it’s useful and saves time. Given its simplicity and speed, educational boards such as the Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE) have also adopted Vedic Maths starting this year.”

Talking about the difference between Universal Concepts of Mental Arithmetic System (UCMAS) tricks and Vedic maths, Sudhir explains, “ The former is mainly based on the Chinese-tool Abacus and only helps in basic mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). The formulae-based Vedic Maths covers a wide range of mathematical concepts including arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry and geometry.”

Busting the left brain myth

Is Maths only for left-brained people? Not according to Aditi. “Both left- and right-brained people have a different approach, however, they’re equally capable of doing well in Maths. Students with an active right brain will definitely visualise the patterns in numbers, and also use them to come up with creative solutions.” And creativity, the couple believes is a must to understand the beauty of maths.

 

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