I, Dee, declare that I love maths. Say what? What is it that makes a person enjoy mathematics? I love the enjoy working through maths problems, like a person enjoys a jigsaw puzzle. Nothing is more gratifying than getting the right answer after a time of struggle. It’s nice when it is easy, but when the problem had stumped you initially, then you worked out the answer it gives a feeling of invincibility. Especially when there are people around you saying they do not understand maths, it is wonderful to realise that you’ve got it, or you can figure it out easily. For this reason, I chose to do a degree in Mathematics. For this reason, I taught Maths and IT in schools. For this reason, I communicate this joy to my students. We can make numbers, angles, shapes and algebra fun, engaging, enlightening and more. I can also help you to pass your exams.
To experience the joy of mathematics is to realize that mathematics is not some isolated subject that has little relationship to the things around us other than to frustrate us with unbalanced checkbooks and complicated computations.
A Mathematics Essay
by Charles Krauthammer
There is a sort of romance with mathematics. People love it or hate it. Maths has had bad name in the past. In the popular mind, it has become either a syndrome (maths anxiety is an affliction to be treated like fear of flying) or a mere skill. We think of a maths whiz as someone who can do in his head what a calculator can do on silicon. But that is not maths. That is accounting.
Real math is not crunching numbers but contemplating them and the mystery of their connections. For Gauss, “higher arithmetic” was an “inexhaustible store of interesting truths” about the magical relationship between sovereign numbers. Real math is about whether a theory or idea is right.
Does it matter? It is the pride of political thought that ideas have consequences. Mathematics, to its glory, is ideas without consequences. “A mathematician,” says Paul Erdös, one of its greatest living maths practitioners and one of the most eccentric, “is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.” Mathematicians do not like to admit that, because when they do, their grant money dries up — it is hard to export theorems — and they are suspected of just playing around, which of course they are.
Politicians and journalists need to believe that everything ultimately has a use and an application. So when a solution for something like Fermat’s last mathematical theorem is announced, one hears that the proof may have some benefit in the fields of, say, cryptography and computers. Mathematicians and their sympathizers, at a loss to justify their existence, will be heard to say, as a last resort, that doing mathematics is useful because “it sharpens the mind.”
Sharpens the mind? For what? For figuring polling results or fathoming Fellini movies or fixing shuttle boosters? We have our means and ends reversed. What could be more important than divining the Absolute? “God made the integers,” said a 19th century mathematician. “All the rest is the work of man.” That work is mathematics, and that it should have to justify itself by its applications, as a tool for making the mundane or improving the ephemeral, is an affront not just to mathematics but to the creature that invented it.
What higher calling can there be than searching for useless and beautiful truths? Number theory is as beautiful and no more useless than mastery of the balance beam or the well-thrown forward pass. And our culture expends enormous sums on those exercises without asking what higher end they serve.
Moreover, of all such exercises, mathematics is the most sublime. It is the metaphysics of modern man. It operates very close to religion, which is why numerology is important to so many faiths and why a sense of the transcendent is so keenly developed in many mathematicians, even the most irreligious.
for Time Magazine – dated – April 18, 1988
Excerpt taken from “The Joy of Math, or Fermat’s Revenge”