31 March 2016

Thoughts about math

Math is a beautiful part of our daily life, it is something that allows us to understand and communicate about the world with precision. While I have little raw calculating power in my head, I love what math allows us to do. I also love what math does to me.

I had a college algebra teacher who once explained why we learn. It is not because we actually need to do calculations daily (we have calculators for that) but because math changes the way we think and the changed thinking allows us to grasp things bigger than us all.

The idea of variable, for example, is key to algebra and calculus but it is also key to living well. How early do you need to leave to make it to work on time? Variable answer that. My commute looks like this: a + b + c = u Where a is the time it takes me to get from my house to the freeway, b is the time I spend on the freeway and c is the time it takes to get from the freeway to the parking lot. Any one of those legs can be adjusted and tweaked to allow me to predict my commute time.

So remember, understanding math (not just being able to calculate numbers in your head) can literally revolutionize your life.

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