The Echoes of the Mind (45) Mathematics


Mathematics is the music of reason. ~ English mathematician James Joseph Sylvester

If you want to get people to believe something really, really stupid, just stick a number on it. ~ American author Charles Seife

To those who appreciate it, mathematics is an art form. But mathematics is too abstract an art for many. As with other organisms, the human mind has certain mathematical aptitudes, and certain natural limitations. For most people, beyond basic arithmetic, mathematics hurts the head.

Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater. ~ Albert Einstein, who was not an especially adroit mathematician

Faculty in math is innate in all organisms. Even microbes must be able to tell when food supplies are plentiful or running short, in order to take appropriate action: which they in fact do, based upon estimated quantity.

Orb-weaving spiders keep a tally of how many silk-wrapped prey there are in the larder on their webs. Many fish live in schools, which statistically gives them better odds of escaping predation. Fish can distinguish at a glance a small difference of group sizes. A threespine stickleback can tell between groups of 18 and 21 in an instant: a speedy comparative power humans cannot match.

Inborn numerosity and mathematical proficiency are not the same. We hear that the price of something rose by 50% and then fell by 50%, and we mistakenly think: “oh, back to where it started.” Our minds have a natural number sense that readily goes astray with fractions.

In humans, mathematics ability is related to intelligence in the broadest sense. Hence, mathematics and language are the 2 facets of intelligence tests.

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For a physicist, mathematics is not just a tool by means of which phenomena can be calculated, it is the main source of concepts and principles by means of which new theories can be created. ~ English-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson

Mathematics reigns over many disciplines of modern life. Physics and economics are essentially mathematical studies. Hypotheses become theories by empirical buttressing which takes mathematical form in models. Existing theories are crushed by the weight of numerics.

Capitalism is an empire of numbers. Its copious failures owe to not encapsulating numerically factors critical to the well-being of societies which employ the market system.

Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers. ~ Indian writer and mental calculator Shakuntala Devi