The Reflective Educator

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Google’s Pierre de Fermat Doodle

 Google Doodle

Pierre de Fermat was a mathematician in the 17th century who often doodled and wrote down mathematical ideas in the margins of his notebooks. Once he wrote down the theorem that bears his name, Fermat’s Last Theorem, shown in the Google Doodle above.

The doodle itself has a flaw I wish to point out. You see, Fermat never wrote down his theorem on a chalkboard. He couldn’t have since a chalkboard wasn’t invented until about 200 years after he had his insight and wrote down his theorem. He wrote his theorem in a notebook.

The reason a chalkboard is depicted in the doodle is that mathematics today is seen as an activity done on a chalkboard, probably by a professor or a teacher, and not something that students do.

I’d like to change that.