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Quick steps to maths

Solving mathematical problems in a jiffy is Prof. Doss' forte

PROF. DOSS solves mathematical problems in a jiffy. A maths teacher by profession, he gives lectures in schools and colleges. "My lectures aim at teaching shortcuts to solve problems, develop lateral thinking and make students understand that there are more than one method to solve a problem," he says.

M. A. Thiruthuvadoss, a post-graduate from Annamalai University, after a brief stint at the Presidency College, went to Africa and later to Sydney, where he taught till his retirement in 1994, and has now settled in Chennai. "I observed that most students lacked confidence when it came to maths, so I brought out a compilation of short cuts and quick steps for calculation," he says. It was while he was browsing in a second hand bookshop in Sydney that he came across a book titled "Vedic Mathematics", containing short cut methods in calculation. Since then, he has been collecting such tips. "The quick steps are not my innovation but a compilation from various sources. I read a lot and on many occasions have taken tips from school children too," he says.

Prof. Doss who gave his 134th lecture at the MCC Higher Secondary School, Chetpet, recently, says that the response from the kids is encouraging. They are receptive to the idea of learning to calculate faster and quicker. "Parents too are willing to learn them so that they can teach their wards," he says. "But, teachers somehow are not as enthusiastic to teach such simple methods to their students. Only the junior level maths teachers show some interest in this regard," he adds. His lectures, which are interactive, last for an hour and a half. Students right from Standard V to M.Sc, benefit from them. "In order to make the best use of quick steps, children have to learn the basics like tables thoroughly. Class II students should never attempt short cuts, but from Class IX upward they can," he says. He is bringing out a book titled "Magic Maths" aimed at those preparing for competitive exams such as CAT and GMAT.

The easy step that Prof. Doss came across in Pythagoras theorem is a revolution, he claims. For example, 3, 4 and 5 is a Pythagorean triad or triplet. To find the Pythagoras triplet for any number he suggests the following method. What is the Pythagoras triplet of 5? The first step is to find the square of 5. It is 25. Now, the next step is to break up 25 in such a way that the difference between the two numbers is one. Here it is 12 and 13. Now we have the triplet 5, 12 and 13. Simple isn't it?

Prof. Doss has many such short cuts for simplification of arithmetic, algebraic and trigonometric fractions, solving algebraic equations, percentage applications and mensuration. He can be contacted at 57/6, I Avenue, Indira Nagar, ph: 24423877.

A. CHITHRAA DEEPA

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