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On the Importance of Mathematics


Mathematics is the queen of science and the language of nature. Its importance should be clear to any reasonable person. It is easy however to diminish the value of certain areas of research because they’re currently thought as having little practical use. Evolutionary needs brought our mind to prefer knowledge that can be employed for the solution of specific problems in the real world, rather than deeply abstract ones. It is an understandable and even excusable fallacy that there are useful fields of math and useless ones, based on the perception of their applied or theoretical nature. But it’s still a misconception. Each theorem and discovery is a little piece of a larger puzzle that we conveniently categorize into aptly labeled macro-areas. Discoveries and mathematical ideas that are perceived as “useful” today because they’re applicable to engineering, for example, were at a certain point in time considered absolutely abstract and useless, or at least derived or intrinsically connected to some that were. Mathematics matters; all of it.

On the net I found an incredible lecture by the brilliant mathematician Timothy Gowers, entitled “The Importance of Mathematics”. In this keynote, Prof. Gowers makes a very strong case in favor of the value of math, of financing its relatively cheap research and its deep implications on human progress. You can watch the 8 parts that compose the whole video, in the following playlist:

For those who’d prefer it, a PDF transcript is also available.

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29 Responses to “On the Importance of Mathematics”

  1. [...] few days ago I began a series of articles on the importance of mathematics. Today I noticed a nice post by Antonia Cangiano at Math-Blog promoting a wonderful speech given by mathematician Timothy Gowers at the 2000 [...]

  2. machinehuman says:

    Great lecture, very nice post. I love math!

  3. Jeff says:

    A really remarkable lecture. Finding new unexpected applications of mathematics always gives me such a thrill. This lecture points out so much that I had never seen before, it really opened me eyes. Nice post!

  4. nitika says:

    Its great reading this remarkable lucture.After reading it i have gain more interest in maths.EXCELLENT POST!!

  5. erica says:

    its really worth all the troubles…. its a very precise explanation on why to study math…

  6. bammy makanju says:

    very good lecture in defending your belief
    but i still hate maths..cant stand it..its not everybodies brains or I.Q that is built to be calculating figures

  7. Dotun Oduwole says:

    it is fantastic. please keep it up. Kudos!

  8. a nice post!i like the explanation…..keep it up..

  9. Tom Bach says:

    i like the explanation! very nice!!

  10. Jaxwhepee says:

    Yup!!! Math I love :D

  11. cUtEaNgEl says:

    i love math forever it is very use ful for us for our succesful mambition in life….

  12. Realizbeth says:

    A very tough but most interesting subject of all. It requires us to think analytically and critically. Everyone must give their full attention in studying this subject if they really want to become successful in the profession that they decided to pursue…

  13. saad muksini says:

    I like mathematics more than other subjects and i real want to have more profession that will make me to be competent in the mathematics

  14. OJO OMOTAYO JESUJOBA says:

    Well, I love mathematics with Passion and i am almost through with my Masters Degree in Mathematics and i will love to do my PHD(Doctorate) in Mathematics.May God help me.Once again, keep it up.

  15. Rita says:

    I LOve mathematics so Much That I thought it wise to be a mathematician.THE EXPLANATION IS EXPLICIT.

  16. Ogunrinola oluagbemiga says:

    Mathematics: very very interesting.

  17. eagle says:

    nice…may i ask a question?

    what is the importance of math in preservation of historical sites??/

    tnx

  18. Adebanjo Adetola says:

    Mathematics is the bedrock of any society that want to be economically buoyant. The importance of mathematics cannot be overemphasized, for those who hate math pls develop interest in it you will not be disappointed.

  19. nilofer khan says:

    i m prof. of maths very nice lectur

  20. keerthana says:

    I love maths too too…..much
    because it is interesting subject.
    without maths the earth would not revolve around the sun.

  21. Kuntala says:

    It was very nice !!!!!!!

  22. alen says:

    improve your views and thoughts

  23. tham says:

    i love math very much!!!!!!!!

  24. maths says:

    i okri john love mathematics am almost through with my masters in maths education

  25. reeha says:

    I enjoy learning mathematics a lot. after whatever I read is really very true. everyone please don’t hate mathematics.

  26. Lim Keng Keh says:

    Mathematics is very important for all of us. We use mathematics to deal with our problems everyday. We use mathematics to calculate car loan, bank interest, house loan, electricity bill and income tax. We use mathematics to count and estimate distance, the amount of petrol to travel by car. We even use mathematics to judge how much calorie to keep us healthy. Mathematics is living with us and we take it for granted because mathematics is the queen of science.

  27. Athul mohan says:

    Maths for me is like a spirit(atman).it(spirit) is out of our sense.when it enters to a body life starts like that maths lonely has no existence.but when it enter’s to science miracle happens.

  28. Joemz says:

    i like it… and i still believe that there is no problem in this world that can’t be solve by mathematics.

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