August 6, 2012

Top 10 reasons to study mathematics

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Written by: Preeti Bhonsle
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For reasons other than mental calculations and a little bit of hard work and thinking, I often fail to grasp why most children and adults fear to study mathematics. Mathematics is the language of the universe; it is the working behind everything physical, chemical and universal. Mathematics has a soul and a form and it is so easy to fall in love with the logical way of concluding things. It is the geek’s best friend and not to forget a winner with the ladies when you have to rant something smart. Besides it is practical and handy. I give you ten reasons why you should take your math more seriously:

10. Math makes everything easy:

Once you have mastered mathematics (undoubtedly the beast of the subjects) and learned to develop your thought processes in a more logical way, you will find everything else easy. It is a tough subject to master, but once mastered it serves as a very good servant. And only that, math will help you find beauty in everything else that you study.

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9. Math is logical:

Mathematics is not about making preposterous claims and talking in the abstract. It is about getting down to the basics and proving yourself right. And the beauty of math lies in logic. For example you might find the below interesting: The Fallacy of Ambiguity occurs when a word or phrase is used with one meaning in one premise, and with another meaning in another premise or conclusion. Example: People should do what is right + people have the right to disregard good advice = People should disregard good advice.

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8. Math is the language of the universe:

To understand the fine workings of universe, math becomes essential. Most of the working is caught in equations which you have to solve either ways. Our ancestors were fascinated with math and most of the wonders of the world are mathematical wonders. And to feel what I have been trying to say, go ahead and watch this movie – Pi.

(img source: photo.lcms.org)

7. Math is non-commercial:

Since I got to talking about researchers here are a few facts for you. Mathematics is the world of free exchange. There is not much pressure for patents and making money. And more often than not you do not need expensive equipment to support your research; just a pencil and paper would suffice. Coming to the commercial part, yes math forms the basis of research in all forms weaponry and missile systems and everything that is moving in this world, which just again goes on to prove my point it is cheap yet paying when you study mathematics.

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6. Math is beautiful:

The practical aspects apart, math is actually beautiful. For real mathematicians and people who are driven into the field of research, there is nothing more beautiful than math. And they often say this when talking about a particular result. The beauty is in the ideas and not in the shapes and symbols. The subject is, in simpler words, elegant and pure.

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5. Math makes you desirable:

All employers are looking for people with a solid math foundation. This you will realize when you sit down for your job interviews and you are yet again bombarded by mental math and probability problems. So being good at even calculative math can give you an edge over your peers and make you more desirable for that white-collar job. Study mathematics if you want to be wanted.

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4. Math complements other subjects:

No matter what field you choose to take up later – mechanical, civil, chemical, computer, physics and yes even biology – you have to have a solid foundation of math to learn further in your fields. Do you know any aeronautical engineer who does not know how to solve the basic equations of dynamics?  Math is inescapable.

(img source: thomsinger.blogspot.com)

3. Math makes you rich:

And I am not the one claiming this but scientific study has proven that mathematics conferred a clear advantage even when taken by weaker students. People who scraped a pass still enjoyed a higher income later in life. A shortage of highly numerate candidates in the jobs market means employers pay a premium for the problem solving and number crunching skills of A-level mathematicians. A possible explanation is that the math skills learned such as logical thinking, problem solving and statistical analysis may be closer to those actually used in the workplace than skills learned in other subjects. So basically “shirking math at school doesn’t add up in your pay packet!”

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2. Math is exciting:

Math keeps on the edge where you have to think to connect and solve. For many it is the ultimate challenging experience of symbols and theorems and connections and then finally the quod erat demonstrandum. The excitement surrounding math as a study is the reason why it has been the very foundation of civilization. Had it not been exciting, it wouldn’t have been a subject of study for more than two millenniums and still at the top of all.

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1. Math is practical:

Above all math is practical. In today’s highly competitive world you have an edge over the others if you are good at mathematics. And I am not just speaking of professional courses and degrees. Even in everyday life, math comes in as a handy tool to see that the shopkeeper has not cheated you or the rickshawvala done the conversion right. And then don’t even get me started on the stock markets and income tax! Wouldn’t you now study mathematics?

(img source: nmsua.edu)

Preeti Bhonsle

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