First Computations

A french education experiment in the 1970’s

Between educational reforms, one thing happened when I was in 7th grade. The system decided that the teachers could spend most a week teaching the kids, any subject, uncontrolled by the curriculum. Kids could organize by project across the different classes, but at the same level.

in 7th grade, my math teacher (Daniel Langlois) run a class about astronomy. I remember measuring the weight of the earth, using the fundamental law of gravitation.

The following year (1974), there was a new attempt. Again I went with the project of the math teacher. He had just acquired a new HP calculator, and we spent the week learning to use reverse polish notation on this beauty:

The teacher was Bernard Dutour, and it started a long term friendship, as he was also living in my home town, Cabourg.

Bernard Dutour, who also was an expert in vintage postcards of the Cabourg – Dives – Houlgate region.

Even though in 8th grade, I was not aware yet of the higher functions, Log, ln, e^x etc, I quickly played around with them, graphed them, and finally had to return the magic toy…
I already loved math, but it was clear to me that there was so much more to it…

I would soon acquire a programmable calculator…