Why do I love Maths?

This is a bit of a more personal post on why I love Maths. Well, where do I begin! To some, it might be strange to have something so academic be my hobby, but to me there is something so captivating about it.

Firstly, the rigour needed in maths is astounding. Due to this, maths is an eternal language; proofs that were constructed hundreds of years ago are still alive today. Let’s take Pythagoras’ theorem. Discovered by Pythagoras around the 16th to 20th century before Christ (the date is unknown), it still is widely used and is a fundamental theorem in many branches of mathematics today, such as trigonometry. Comparing this to other disciplines such as English, it is rare that a literary piece will stand the test of time, and will still be popular centuries later (with the exception of a few), but due to the rigour of maths, once proven, a theorem is immortalised. Poincaré’s conjecture will always be true, now that Grigori Perelman proved it; it can never be disputed, and I find that amazing!

The language of maths is based on numbers and symbols making the communication with fellow mathematicians beautifully simple – it is universal. As a result, it is easier to come together in the mathematics community, no matter what country you come from. If we look at the example of Ramanujan: Born in India, he was a mathematical prodigy without ever having formal training. When his skills became apparent to the mathematical community in Europe, he moved to Cambridge to start a partnership with the English mathematician G. H. Hardy. This highlights the universality of mathematics and its ability to bring people together from different cultures in order to tackle problems.

Lastly, I must admit that when I am stuck on a difficult problem I often get frustrated. However, the sheer satisfaction I get when I solve the problem is unparalleled by any other feeling. I can only imagine what it must’ve been like for Andrew Wiles to finally complete his proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem after 7 years! It’s this satisfaction that grips me and that keeps me challenging myself more and more in maths.

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11 comments

  1. Thank you for this. I’m working at a lot lower level than you but still can see much beauty in the mathematics I do. I think integers (whole numbers) are very interesting and love working on very basic number theory problems involving primes and other categories of numbers, such as triangular. I was so pleased when really useful applications were found for this in cryptography. With number theory, there is always something new and interesting to learn. Ramanujan said that every whole number was interesting to him, and I agree.

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    1. Yes, I also love researching problems in Number Theory as I find them fascinating, although I must admit it isn’t my best topic.. I’ve written a lot more posts on Number Theory if you’re interested! 🙂

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  2. Much respect, I’ve never been mathematically minded, but envy those that are, after all, it’s the language of the universe. I wondered if you could help me with a epistomological conundrum. Science is based primarily on induction, however, it heavily depends on maths, which of course is a form of deduction. So in the realm of theoretical science, where ideas are hypothesised as deductive mathematical equations, is maths a fair tool to use when postulating ideas. If so, would that not mean that other non mathematical deductive arguments should be equally accepted as fair arguments? I ask this as I’ve heard scientists discredit deduction as a sound tool in science, yet maths is in itself deductive…thanks

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    1. I think this is because science is largely based on scientific evidence as it represents real life situations and problems. In science, a hypothesis is created and then experiments are conducted to try and prove this hypothesis. If the experimental evidence correlates, after many years the theory is accepted by the scientific community. In science it is not enough to simply prove something mathematically as this may not translate to real lie situations. The hypothesis’, however, are normally obtained deductively and so I feel that in this respect maths and science correlates. Maths, however, is all based on deductive arguments because in its pure form it does not describe real life, but is merely a construction of mathematicians.
      In respect to theoretical physics, I feel that it is largely based on deductive mathematical arguments because there is a lack of technology to test these ideas in experiments and so ideas are accepted merely using mathematics, for example the Big Bang Theory. Non-mathematical ideas are less strong due to the fact that they lose their rigour, and in the world of maths and science, rigour is important!
      Hope this helped!

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      1. Thank you. Very helpful. It is true that the maths alone isn’t sufficient as evidence. And I think you are right when you say mathematics is relied upon in physics due to the inability to prove a lot of things emperically. These mathematical models are just hypotheses and cannot be taken as evidence until or unless proven. Big Bang does have some good evidence other than maths such as the red shift). Thank you for the response very helpful.

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  3. As a philosopher who studies maths, I always like seeing a mathematician’s perspective on why they love mathematics. Thanks for sharing yours! (:
    I always found comfort in mathematics because I have so much uncertainty and unresolved existential, metaphysical, and epistemological problems; it’s a formal system I can grab onto when it feels like the very fabric of reality is coming apart at the seams. A source of certainty and precision in a world full of chaos and void of meaning.

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