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Mathematical passion equates to talent;Internet insights;Briefing

Why are some children passionate about maths while others loathe it?

Dr Jon Geeke, of Melbourne University, has conducted a survey of international research to find an answer to this conundrum.

Interesting results from neuro-

psychology lead Dr Geeke to conclude that emotional stimulus and high mathematical ability are both associated with the brain's frontal lobes. Some of his comments will mystify many: "With mathematically talented people, their greater activity in the frontal regions means greater activity in the brain's limbic area." But his general argument is simpler: mathematical talent generates, and is generated by, mathematical passion.

Dr Geeke's paper is available at the popular website set up by the NRICH Mathematics Project at Cambridge University's School of Education. NRICH is a national centre supporting the mathematical development of very able children and its website, at was commended by the Government's Numeracy Taskforce. Up to 2,500 web pages are being downloaded every day. Dr Geek's report is at

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