Maths gags don't add up

Boffin criticises Connolly's jokes

He’s already upset many with his ill-advised comments this year, but now Billy Connolly has attracted the ire of another group… mathematicians

Nobel prize-winning scientist Sir Harry Kroto has singled out the comic for promoting an anti-intellectual view of maths and science.

He accuses Connolly, as well as other celebrities such as Jeremy Clarkson, for promoting the idea the subjects were pointless – in the same week English teenagers slipped down world league tables for the sciences.

Sir Harry, a Nobel chemistry laureate for chemistry, cited a Billy Connolly routine as an example.

In it, the comic complains that at school, “they teach you f****** algebra, of no use to any living being. I mean, I would love to meet somebody who found a use for the f****** algebra when they left. It’s unreal, isn’t it?”.

Sir Harry told the Sunday Times: “The Big Yin took real pride in his inability to understand algebra and solace in ridiculing those who can do it. This is dangerous stuff

 “There are a number of intellectuals and celebrities who spend time slagging off science and science teachers. They seem to take delight in rubbishing science and maths education.”

Published: 12 Dec 2004

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