What you are is controlled by two factors – your genetic inheritance from your parents and the environment in which your live. This is called the Nature-Nurture division and is the basis of modern genetic understandings. You will have noticed that you have certain physical similarities with other members of your family – people may say you have “your mother’s ears” or “your father’s hands”. This doesn’t mean that you actually have your parents’ appendages, more that they are physically similar – that you have inherited those characteristics. This was first investigated by an Austrian monk, Gregor Mendel who spent much of his time cross-breeding plants to discover how these inherited factors would relate to each other. He was the first to identify the concepts of dominant and recessive characteristics – i.e. that an organism could have a genetic trait which was not expressed in its physical appearance.
Archive for September 2008
Numbers are such seemingly simple things – even babies can learn to count. But they keep on getting much more complicated. First it was fractions, then it was decimals, and later negative numbers.
Why is it so complicated? Even now, we keep on adding more types of numbers – natural number, whole numbers, integers… it keeps on going. We need all these different labels because the different types of numbers have different properties – and the relationships between these sets are essential to know as you continue your studies of mathematics. When you go on, you will learn that the various number sets (e.g. real numbers or irrational numbers) have different properties.