Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | March 6, 2009

## A childhood story: Sir Christopher Zeeman

Ronald Shaw wrote:

Shortly after seeing your Childhood Stories request in the LMS March
Newsletter, by chance I came across Christopher Zeeman’s biography which includes:

His first memory of being fascinated by mathematics was when his mother showed him how to solve a problem when he was seven years old. The problem was: given a rectangle 3 by 4, what would be the dimensions of a rectangle inside the given one which was half the area and a left an equal width border all round. Chris still remembers his mother explaining how to solve it by introducing  $x$ for twice the width of  the border.  /… it was a revelation to me./  It was the one and only time he remembers discussing mathematics with his mother.