“Oh Mum,” Fainjin assumed his I’m-about-to-tell-you-something-important demeanour, “did you know, one is the most important number?”

Now, I’ve been talking a bit about the “most important” number recently, discussing the nature and history of zero with Pearl and some of the kids at school. So I was interested to hear what Fainjin might have picked up from that, and why he was begging to differ.

“Is it really?”, I enquired. “Why do you think one is the most important number?”

“Oh, because,” he began, “after you get to the last number, you come back around all the way to one again…”

Here we go, another discussion on the nature of infinity with the 5-year-old…!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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3 Responses to “One”

  1. Graham Says:

    Coincidentally, a colleague told me of this conversation today:
    Nursery teacher: what’s your favourite number?
    4-year old boy: i
    Teacher: but I is a letter not a number.
    Boy: No, it’s the square root of -1…

    • Kate @ upsidebackwards Says:

      That’s a scary 4-yr-old! Just yesterday The Dad was entertaining us with a story of how, aged about 7 or 8, he had an argument with his teacher over the sum 5-8. The Dad had not yet made the acquaintance of negative numbers and thought such sums impossible. He refused to believe the teacher’s answer of -3! Heaven knows what his younger self would have made of i – I know several adults who struggle with the concept 😀

  2. Graham Says:

    The Dad’s in good company with lots of pre-Cartesian mathematicians 🙂

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