Adam Spencer is an author, comedian and self-confessed maths geek – not to mention a really good bloke writes Emily Jade.
After years spent on breakfast radio and working on TV, Adam Spencer has turned to his true nerdy passion — numbers— and released a book that he hopes will help kids (and adults) around the country embrace mathematics.
The Big Book of Numbers has all the mathematics, science, pop culture, history and general trivia of the first 100 counting numbers. As a child I really struggled with maths and no tutor, repeat classes or tantrums could help me, so I was keen to catch up with Adam to see why his book is so different.
I still hate maths and I don’t think you can talk me around, but let’s see how you go.
Emily, numbers are the musical notes with which the symphony of our universe is written.
Wow! That’s impressive, but I bet it didn’t help you with the ladies?
No! Never. This girl gave me her phone number once and it had in the middle “573171” and I said, “No, you’re kidding me – you see, 57 multiplied by three gives you 171!” and she just got up and walked away!
Not surprised. Tell me about your book …
Half of it is silly numerical trivia; you don’t need any mathematical interest at all. The other
half is aimed at kids like me. It’s there to inspire kids that maths is this beautiful thing that is
everywhere, and when it’s done well it’s like poetry.
I hear you love the number four?
Number four was the first number that I remember falling in love with. If we were in the car together and you turned the volume up to 25, I’d have to turn it down to 24 – it has to be a multiple of four for me.
Why do people have special numbers?
Favourite and lucky numbers are either deeply culturally burnt into you or they just have some great association. I love the number four, but the Chinese don’t like four because in Mandarin the number
four sounds like their word for death, so it’s considered unlucky. They’re about to build this massive residential tower in Sydney and it goes to level 82 but only has 66 floors because there are no floors featuring the number four; they fear potential Chinese investors won’t live in a building where there are fours.
Speaking of four, your daughter is in year four and has given The Big Book of Numbers a stamp of approval.
Yes, I go to her school once a week and take kids for maths extension class and they absolutely
love it. It’s so nerdy! We do stuff that’s completely out-there. If you walk the kids through nice and gently you can have 10-year-olds doing maths they wouldn’t see until university.
For a copy of the book or more information, click here.