From the paper: "One night I was watching “The West Wing” and two characters were sparring verbally
(about football?). One of them had gone to Berkeley and one to Princeton. The Princeton grad said,
“My tigers can beat your bears anytime.” And the Berkeley grad replied, “At what, logarithms?” If math is a metaphor for things arcane and obscure and incomprehensible, not to mention
boring, then logarithms exemplify that.
I want to talk today about logarithms and how they have been important historically in
mathematics and how they are important in mathematics today for an entirely different reason
(which I find very intriguing). I believe that, just as we can have more success in helping students
learn mathematics if we make it more meaningful and interesting, we can help students learn this
somewhat intimidating topic if we put it in a context they can understand."