You don't need to count to see that five apples are more than three oranges: you can tell just by looking. That's because you were born with a sense for number. But is that sense related to the mathematical abilities you develop later on?
Learning mathematics involves a progression to higher and higher concepts, building on the foundations of what we have already learnt. But Andrew Irving and Ebrahim Patel explain that no matter how high your mathematical knowledge reaches you must never lose sight of your foundations, no matter how basic they may seem.
This month 70 teenage girls from nineteen countries including Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia and Finland came to the University of Cambridge to participate in the inaugural European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO).
Who said that people don't like maths? Numbers of entries to maths A and AS levels across the UK have again increased this year. The number of students taking maths A level has risen by 7.8% compared to last year and A level further maths entries have risen by 5.2% At AS level maths has seen an increase of 25.3% compared to last year and further maths an increase of 24.7%. The number of students taking A level maths is now higher than it has been for almost two decades.
If you are, then you may be one of the 5 to 7% of the population suffering from dyscalculia, the mathematical equivalent of dyslexia. But unlike many dyslexia sufferers, you probably haven't received the help you need to cope with your condition. As a recent article published in the journal Science points out, dyscalculia is the "poor relation" of dyslexia.