London, May 14 2004 – n° 1640 – www.thes.co.uk
Measuring up: Giovanni Pastore want to see the return of the slide rule to Improve students' ability to think
Slide rules could make a come-back in mathematics classes, according to an engineering lecturer at Potenza University, in southern Italy.
Giovanni Pastore, 50, believes students would benefit from using slide rules, alongside calculators and computers, because it makes them learn to think.
He also wants to preserve knowledge of how these instruments are used and is preparing a 600 page book covering general-purpose mathematical rules and the many specialist models designed for mechanics, chemistry, topography, electricity, reinforced concrete, navigation, aviation, commerce and other areas.
Professor Pastore said: "Today's students pull out their calculator to divide or multiply by ten. A slide rule encourages the student to think, rather than just press buttons. This develops the student's grasp of the subject."
"Television has not made radio obsolete, nor have cars universally replaced horses or bicycles. In some kinds of calculations there are distinct advantages to using a slide rule. Of course, precision is limited compared with a calculator, but inaccuracies of less than 0.5 per cent are negligible for most practical purposes."
Bruno Bassan, 47, a mathematician at Rome's La Sapienza University, said: "Professor Pastore's idea sounds a little like asking people to ride a horse while taking driving lessons. It is a nice idea, but perhaps more for amusement than for serious inclusion in university studies."
Professor Pastore graduated from Turin Polytechnic in 1978. He worked at Fiat for two decades before turning to freelance civil engineering and teaching, first at Cosenza University and now at Potenza.
He has almost 300 slide rules in his collection and has helped to set up a slide rule section in the Mathematical Museum at La Sapienza. There, the rules are displayed alongside an early edition of John Napier's book on logarithms, which paved the way for the slide rule.
Professor Pastore's website is very popular with academics and slide-rule collectors. Among other things, it shows photographs of scientists Wernher von Braun and Sergej Korolev with their favourite slide rules.
THE TIMES - HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT - London, May 14 2004 - n° 1640 - (jpg)
ANTIKYTHERA E I REGOLI CALCOLATORI
Tecnologia e scienza del calcolatore astronomico dei Greci
Istruzioni per l’uso dei regoli calcolatori logaritmici matematici, cemento armato e speciali, con numerosi esempi di calcolo
© Copyright 2006 - Giovanni Pastore, Italy - All rights reserved – Any partly or total reproduction is
forbidden. Antikythera e i regoli calcolatori by Giovanni Pastore was printed in Rome on February 2006 and it is protected by the current civil and criminal law on copyright.
This work is the result of more than six years of researches and personal efforts, aimed to rediscover a huge scientific legacy, unknown to the new generations of engineers, mathematicians and technicians.
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THE RECOVERED ARCHIMEDES PLANETARIUM
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