A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.

# mathematics

Education

## Math professor shows how adding and subtracting left to right is actually easier and faster

### Mind. Blown.

Howie Hua shares helpful math tips and tricks on social media.

Math is weird.

On the one hand, it's consistent—the solutions to basic math problems are the same in every country in the world. On the other hand, there are multiple strategies to get to those solutions, and it seems like people are still coming up with new ones (much to the chagrin of parents whose kids need help with homework using methods they've never learned).

Math professor Howie Hua shares math strategies that make math easier on social media, and his videos are fascinating. Hua, who teaches math to future elementary school teachers at Fresno State, demonstrates all kinds of mental math tricks that feel like magic when you try them.

For instance, Hua has two videos showing how easy and quick it is to add multidigit numbers left to right instead of right to left, and it's genuinely mind-blowing.

Check out how he explains why adding left to right is "underrated."

OK, seriously. That is way easier to do in your head. It's basically putting the numbers into expanded form and adding them, which makes it easier to visualize.

Adding this way makes sense, but subtracting is a bit more complicated, right?

Wrong, apparently. Watch Hua work his math sorcery subtracting two and three-digit numbers.

@howie_hua

Did you know you can subtract left to right? #math #mathematics #mathtok #maths #teachersoftiktok #teacher #mathtricks #mathtrick

Holy moly. That's faster than the right-to-left, borrow-from-the-next-column method, isn't it? And again, so much easier to visualize what's actually happening, though I don't know if I could fully do this in my head like I could with the left-to-right addition.

Hua recently shared another cool subtraction trick for problems with minuends that have a lot of zeroes. (The minuend is the first number in a subtraction problem. Don't be too impressed. I had to look it up.)

Check this out:

@howie_hua

An underrated subtraction strategy #math #mathematics #mathtok #maths #teachersoftiktok #teacher #mathtricks #mathtrick

So simple, so time-saving and so something I would never have figured out on my own.

These tips and tricks might come in handy for anyone, but they're especially useful for kids who are having to do these kinds of math problems at school all the time. Even if they're supposed to solve the problem with a different strategy, these methods can be a quick way to check their answers.

Anything that makes math easier, I say. You can watch Hua's videos on TikTok, YouTube and Twitter.

More

## Maia Weinstock knows a thing or two about women in science.

She's a science writer, researcher, and a deputy editor at MIT News, who fell in love with biology and astronomy at an early age. "I've always been interested in understanding how our world and universe works," Weinstock said.

She also has a self-described "mission" to inspire young girls to pursue science careers.

While the job market in science, technology, education, and math (STEM) is the fastest growing in the U.S., there's still a pretty big gender problem: Women are vastly underrepresented in STEM careers, making up only about 14% of engineers nationwide according to some estimates.

## To help tackle the STEM gender gap, Weinstock decided to start in the toy aisle.

Why? Because according to her (and many other advocates for women in STEM), girls are often steered away from science careers at a very early age.

"Girls are discouraged along the way through a series of barriers," said Weinstock. "This starts from the day they're born, or even before they're born — parents set expectations for how they treat boys differently from girls."

## Weinstock designed a set of Lego minifigures made to resemble five of NASA's most influential women.

Image via Maia Weinstock.

The design, submitted to Lego's "Ideas" page, needs 10,000 supporters to be reviewed by Lego designers. Currently, the "Women of Nasa" project has received support from over 5,000 people and has gotten shoutouts from NASA and the UN too.

## The five women Weinstock chose are not all famous astronauts. They're a careful mix of recognizable faces and unsung heroes.

There's Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. And Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space.

Photo via Maia Weinstock.

There's also Margaret Hamilton, the computer-scientist who developed the in-flight software used for the Apollo moon missions.

Image via Maia Weinstock/NASA.

Then there's Nancy Roman. Known to many as the "Mother of Hubble" for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope, she was also one of NASA's first female executives, as well as a public advocate for women in science.

Image via Maia Weinstock/NASA.

And finally, Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who calculated the trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo missions, including the one that landed human beings on the moon for the first time.

Image via Maia Weinstock/NASA.

## Weinstock hopes that seeing successful women depicted as iconic Lego figurines will inspire girls and boys alike.

"We need to value women in positions of power as role models," said Weinstock. "Giving girls toys that show them what they can be is one way to do that. But it's also extremely important for boys to see females in these roles when they go to toy stores, so that it's expected that men and women can and should be a part of the same fields."

Image via Maia Weinstock.

Plus, according to Catherine Hill, a researcher at the American Association of University Women, kids start picking up on gendered stereotypes by the age of 3. Those stereotypes can include the idea that construction toys like Legos are "for boys" and can ultimately discourage a girl from her initial interest in science and engineering.

"My LEGO proposal certainly isn't going to completely change the equation," said Weinstock. "But I do think it would help at the earliest, most impressionable stages.

## For Weinstock, diversifying STEM is about inspiring kids as early as possible by paying tribute to the achievements of those who came before.

If the project is picked up, millions of kids could get the chance to learn about and be inspired by the women who've been at the center of our space program for decades.

Maybe it seems like a small step, but as NASA itself has shown us, one small step can change the world.

Most Shared

## Name five women scientists you learned about in school. Go ahead, I'll wait.

GIF via "Sherlock."

I got to three very quickly but had to think for a moment to get to five. It's not because these researchers, explorers, and innovators don't exist; I simply didn't learn about their work and contributions to history in school. It just wasn't a large part of the curriculum. And, sadly, my experience isn't unique.

You can't be what you can't see,which may be why women remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) roles. Just 25% of computer and mathematical science professionals and a mere 13% of engineers today are women.

## But one woman is doing her part to help change that. And she's doing it with comics.

Seriously, comics.

Rachel Ignotofsky is a Kansas City-based artist and designer whose first book is an illustrated look at 50 game-changing women across centuries of scientific discovery and inquiry.

Unless otherwise noted, all images reprinted with permission from "Women in Science," copyright 2016 by Rachel Ignotofsky, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

## But why comics? It's the medium that changed her life.

Ignotofsky had a difficult time learning to read and grew frustrated until she found her secret weapon.

"The only thing that ... got me through it was educational comic books and cartoons," Ignotofsky said. "It gave me this push to learn information that was for the 'smart kids.'"

Ignotofsky grew up loving comics, design, and science. (If a career as an artist didn't work out, medical school was young Rachel's backup plan.) So she channeled her passions into "Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World." The book is a beautifully curated collection of personal narratives from female scientists from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines, with a dash of whimsy thrown in.

Ignotofsky hopes it will open doors to kids and adults interested in learning more about the women who shaped not only science, but history. And after her childhood struggle with reading, she knows firsthand how well comics can deliver information.

"I feel like there's a real struggle with scientific literacy, especially in this country," Ignotofsky said. "You have to win people over. And you can convince anyone to do anything with illustration."

Check out a few of the courageous women in science profiled in Ignotofsky's book.

## 1. Edith Clarke, who worked as a human calculator and became General Electric's first female electrical engineer.

She's also a Badger. On, Wisconsin!

## But even with the amazing women she highlights in her book, Ignotofsky still remembers the women she had to leave out.

Women like pioneering Indian botanist Janaki Ammal, paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, accomplished physicist and astronaut Sally Ride, and Irene Joliet-Curie, daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie and a talented chemist in her own right. But for this collection, Ignotofsky had to make some tough calls and let variety be her guide.

"I could've had 50 women in chemistry if I wanted to, but I really wanted to have a diverse group."

Physicist Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. Photo via NASA.

## But, luckily, for Ignotofsky — and all of us who love women in science — there are plenty of women in science for another book or two ... or 20.

Women are earning just over half of the undergraduate degrees in STEM fields, and we're re-writing history and making groundbreaking discoveries every day. The future belongs to these rising stars, and they have these courageous pioneers to thank.

More

## Never heard of Hertha Marks Ayrton? That's OK. Neither had I. But let me tell you why I'll definitely be remembering her.

Ayrton would have been 162 today, so Google decided to honor her with a Doodle designed by artist Lydia Nichols.

## Ayrton was the first woman to present a scientific finding to the esteemed British Royal Society, way back in 1904.

A painting of Ayrton. Image from Mme. Darmesteter/Wikimedia Commons.

This is the same society that heard presenters like Charles Darwin and Michael Faraday (one of the great founders of modern electric knowledge).

Ayrton's work was "The Origin and Growth of Ripple-mark," which helped explain ripple marks, those weird lines on beaches.

Image from Margaret W. Carruthers/Flickr.

If that seems silly, this is no eighth-grade science experiment. Fluid dynamics is incredibly weird and difficult, but Ayrton was a powerhouse of math and physics knowledge. Her discovery helped us better understand how fluids like air and water move, which affects things from water delivery to electric turbine design.

## This wasn't Ayrton's only contribution to science.

Image from A. Rintel/Wikimedia Commons.

At the turn of the century, a new form of lighting had hit Britain: the electric arc lamp. The lights were bright and dependable but also had a weird tendency to hiss when they were turned on.

Well, it was Ayrton who figured out what that noise was. In 1899, she presented a paper, "The Hissing of the Electric Arc," to Britain's Institute of Electrical Engineers. She explained that the noise was from craters forming in the lamp's carbon rods. Two days later, they elected her as their first female member.

## Unfortunately, the scientific community sometimes tried to hold her back because of her gender.

In 1901, she wrote another paper about electric arcs and tried to present it to the Royal Society. But the society had a man present her work instead.

"An error that ascribes to a man what was actually the work of a woman has more lives than a cat," she once said — a quote that I think might resonate with a lot of other female scientists.

Nevertheless, Ayrton continued to make significant contributions to electrical engineering.

## She was never one to let people hold her back because of her gender, though. She was a keen supporter of women's suffrage in England.

A suffrage meeting in England circa 1908. Image from The New York Times/Wikimedia Commons.

She took part in a lot of marches and demonstrations, was a member of the Women's Social and Political Union, and either founded or help lead many other suffrage societies. She also opened her home to women who had been jailed after demonstrations and hunger strikes.

## She was also a prolific inventor, and her inventions saved lives in World War I.

Image from Ernest Brooks/Wikimedia Commons.

By the time she died, she had 26 different patents under her belt. In 1915, Ayrton invented a fan that saved soldiers from the poisonous gas weapons of World War I.

Over 100,000 fans were sent to the battlefield.

## Hertha Marks Ayrton was an awesome engineer, mathematician, physicist, inventor, and proponent of women's suffrage.

It kind of sucks that more people haven’t heard of her and that we needed a Google Doodle to find out about her. But it's still pretty powerful to see a big, public reminder of the huge number of amazing women who have had an impact on our world.