December 6, 2002
Dr. Laurens Gunnarsen
Teaching Genius: Recognizing and Training Mathematical Prodigies
Laurens Gunnarsen is one of HAGSA members Walter and Margo Gunnarsen’s two sons. He was introduced by his father.
This is the second time that Laurens Gunnarsen has spoken on this topic at a HAGSA meeting. For the past few years, Dr. Gunnarsen has been mentoring children who have been shown to be exceptionally gifted in mathematics. This is necessary to help them overcome the obstacles that peers and school systems often throw in their paths. He wants to ensure that their talents will not be wasted in adulthood. As far as he knows, he is the only person in the world who is doing this on a systematic basis. Mostly this is done using email on the Internet.
In his talk, Dr. Gunnarsen emphasized that mathematics is both an art and a language and that the prodigies recognize this. The children he works with are able to make fine discriminations even though they have not been trained to do so. They are able to recognize patterns and to discern important facts and relationships much better than the rest of us. They are also good at ignoring what is not important.
Report prepared by Wayne Luney, Recorder