A mathematical muse
Audio: Click to listen to the audio clip entitled 'Mathematical Musings'
Transcript: Mathematical musings
Activity 11
Click on the link above to hear the audio clip called ‘Mathematical musings’.
The speaker describes a number of everyday things and occurrences which she sees as having interesting mathematical features. Make a note of the subjects described and any questions that interest you. Which elements mentioned do you find easy to see as mathematical and which are harder to see that way?
Answer
Below is a list of the topics referred to in the audio clip.
Saturday:  Guitar frets, thinkofanumber games, clock arithmetic. 
Sunday:  Formula for the age of a tree, daylight length. 
Monday:  Cauliflorets (self similarity*). 
Tuesday:  Graphs in a newspaper. 
Wednesday:  How many translators? 
Thursday:  Phone bill, Time zones, Types of maps. 
Friday:  OU Logo, rainbows. 
Over the coming week, try to cultivate your own ‘mathematical eye and ear’, looking out for ways in which mathematics permeates the various things you do, see and hear.
So, what is mathematics? And what is a mathematician? An aim of this course was to help you begin to answer these questions. However, as you gain more experience of doing mathematics, your own understanding of the words will probably change. So press on with your studies and see how your understanding develops.
Outcomes
Now that you have completed your work on this section, you should have:

clarified your own ideas of what mathematics is and what it is to be a mathematician (Activities 1–5, 10 and 11);

gained experience in working from videotape and audiotape as part of your mathematical learning (Activities 4 and 11);

begun to recognize different types of written mathematics (Activities 6–9);

developed your skill at reading mathematics (Activity 9);

become more attuned to noticing mathematical questions arising from the world around you (Activities 3, 4, 10 and 11).