Plus Advent Calendar Door #15: Florence Nightingale and the power of pictures

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Florence Nightingale

A young Florence Nightingale

A picture is worth a thousand words — or should we say a thousand equations? Being able to visualise mathematics is hugely useful, and it's an ability that many creative mathematicians possess. A great example is the work of Florence Nightingale. Although she's mostly know for her work as a nurse, she was also a statistical pioneer who used pictures to persuade her contemporaries that hospitals had to be managed differently. You can read about Nightingale's work in this Plus article, or in a shorter and easier article on Wild Maths.

Wild Maths encourages students to explore maths beyond the classroom and is designed to nurture mathematical creativity. The site is aimed at 7 to 16 year-olds, but open to all. It provides games, investigations, stories and spaces to explore, where discoveries are to be made. Some have starting points, some a big question and others offer you a free space to investigate.

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