Author Archives: Laura Laing

About Laura Laing

Laura Laing is a freelance journalist and essayist, as well as the author of three books: "Math for Grownups," "Math for Writers," and "Your Daily Math." A student in Goucher College’s MFA program in creative nonfiction, she is currently writing a non-traditional memoir with mathematical themes.

Nuance – rather than just numbers – helps tell the full story

Photo: Anssi Koskinen via Flickr

Ah, the precision of numbers! For editors and journalists alike, the right number can slam a story into high gear, giving it a clear message: this is why you should care.

Reporting the numbers gives a story its footing, and for a good reason. As the queen of the sciences, mathematics pulls the abstract down to the ground, where it can be applied to everyday life. That can include the optimal number of calories we should eat each day, the most effective dose of melatonin that guarantees a good night’s sleep or the time it takes measles to spread among a community with non-immunized children and adults. Math is the language of science, and so without numbers, science would be flimsy, inapplicable. We wouldn’t know the rules or when it’s appropriate to break or bend them. Continue reading