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SATURDAY

Math: the music, the madness, the maleness. Steve Olson won’t try to explain why boys do better with numbers than girls. But his new book, Count Down: Six Kids Vie for Glory at the World’s Toughest Math Competition, battles the notion that “mathematically gifted” equals “socially crippled,” citing lots of studies that the less geeky—I mean, gifted—among us may be, frankly, too lazy to read. But he’s OK with promoting the math-nerd/band-nerd connection: “All six members of the U.S. Olympiad team were superb pianists,” but one, David Shin, rearranged sounds as deftly as he rearranged variables: “He sounded out a melody….Bending low over the keys, his eyes almost closed, he would add to the melody—a bass line, some harmonies. He would invert the notes and play them faster or slower, alter them slightly, or try a new accompaniment.” Learn about mathletes as “artists working in a medium of form and numbers” when Olson speaks at 6 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Pamela Murray Winters)