Joshua's math-ology

Get it fast, get it right

Pythagoras – the man, and the theorem

Pythagoras of Samos, whom we fondly know as the a2 + b2 = c2 guy, is known for his theorem on right-angled triangles.

Basically, if you have a right-angled triangle:

  • The shortest side, call it a.
  • The second longest side, call it b.
  • The longest side is the hypotenuse. Call it c.

Imagine that a is a side of a square (blue), b is a side of a square (red), and c is a side of a  square (purple). The area of the blue square is a2. The area of the red square is b2. The area of the purple square is c2.

If you add up the area of the blue square (a2), with the area of the red square (b2), it’s the same as the area of the purple square (c2).

Hence, Pythagoras’ theorem is proven!

a2 + b2 = c2

*Actually, it doesn’t matter which side you call a or b. As long as you don’t get c mixed up.

Did you know that Pythagoras was not really a mathematician? He was first known as a philosopher, and also as a founder of a religious movement. Then only was he known for his contribution to mathematics, but even that is questionable.

Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher who greatly influenced Plato, and through him, subsequently influenced all of Western philosophy. Pythagoras also founded a religious sect called Pythagoreanism. Here is an idea of how Pythagoras fuses his philosophy, religion and mathematics, all into one:

“The so-called Pythagoreans, who were the first to take up mathematics, not only advanced this subject, but saturated with it, they fancied that the principles of mathematics were the principles of all things.” – Aristotle, 350 B.C.

The principles of mathematics were the principles of all things! It governs your sciences, influences your morals, and basically forms the basis of your way of life.

Doesn’t that sound strangely familiar? Like someone used to say it a lot in class…

There are very few known facts about Pythagoras’ life. Too few, and too late of a date to be considered trustworthy. Even his contemporaries gave very little written information about him. His identity remains hidden in a  shroud. The secrecy of the Pythagorean brotherhood did not help much either. Therefore, along with the passage of time, the invention of myths took the place of Pythagoras’  biographical facts.

However, modern day anthropologists have discovered new evidence about Pythagoras. Combined with the work of well-reknown historians and artists, they have put together what they believe to be the most accurate archeological record to date. Pythagoras is believed to look something like this…

The team of anthropologists are still trying to get approval from the International Museum of Natural History.


August 25, 2010 Posted by | Mathematics Form 2 | Leave a comment


Tired of mathematics?

Your typical math class.

Try Joshuamatics! It is Joshua’s brand of mathematics.

Not your typical teacher.

Mathematics is not a dry subject with Joshua Hooi. He can breathe life into your math, raise your exam grades, and heal your mathematical problems.

You can't fall asleep, even if you try.

He is not keen on handing out answers as a standard lesson plan. “Siapa suka salin, satu hari akan masuk hospital bersalin,” He candidly says in his classes. Perpetually armed with a wise crack and a wise saying, you won’t have a dull moment with him. “Give a student the answer, he will be happy for a day. Teach a student how to answer, he will be happy for a lifetime!”


What drives him is the satisfaction of seeing his students getting better at solving problems. “One day, you will realize that life’s problems are much more complicated. Math is just a training ground – a stepping stone, if you like – that prepares you for greater challenges ahead.”

Problem solved.

Many students have benefited under his tutelage. He responds to house-calls for home tuition classes. But that, of course, is subject to his availability. He operates within the comforts of your own home, at your preferred timing. He is confident with any kind of maths the secondary school has to offer.

You have a problem? Joshua Hooi looks forward to hear from you.

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Joshua's math-ology | 1 Comment