This month I am starting an experiment: developing a mostly rigorous course in Pure Mathematics meant for a very general audience of lay people, with only a high school background of mathematics. This course is called Six — not the musical! — because it is all about the magic and mystery of the number six, as encoded by the objects 1,2,3,4,5 and 6.
The number 6 plays a distinguished role in mathematics, being the third triangular number, the smallest product of two distinct primes, a factorial, a number intimately connected with each of the Platonic solids, the order of the smallest non-commutative group, the size of the unique symmetric group which has an outer automorphism, the number of points on a conic in Pascal’s theorem, and the number of points on a line involved in the multi-ratio of projective geometry. There are actually quite a few additional occurrences of the special number 6 in mathematics!
But a lot of these topics are rather advanced. Our aim is to start with an unfocussed explorative approach with just basic objects and different ways of organizing them. Hopefully as we proceed we will be able to touch base with some of the topics above and others too.
The prerequisites are just some basic arithmetic, and a willingness to listen carefully and work through patterns in a systematic organized way. And hopefully an interest in mathematics to start with, but we will be developing on that, and with luck will be able to shed light on why pure mathematics is such a beautiful and remarkable area of study.
Why not join us? I guarantee you will learn some interesting things.