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Monday, August 1, 2016

Why Should You Study Math?

To nobody's surprise, at the Center of Math we really love our mathematics. One of our main goals is to share the subject with as many people as possible, but in order to do that, we need to answer one very important question. Why learn mathematics?

Imagine this: you’re walking alone at night. It’s dark. It’s cold. You hear someone slinking around when suddenly they jump out screaming: “TELL ME THE CRITICAL POINTS OF THE FUNCTION f(x,y,z) = 2x2 + 5y - z3 + 3 OR I’LL ROB YOU!”

This is not the reason why you should learn math…

So why should you?

Math is not everybody’s best subject, but it’s no secret our schools believe it’s important. I’ve noticed the “You have to learn math so you can be prepared for the nefarious Calculus Crook” is the joke a lot of teachers tell when asked this question. In reality, they’re just sneakily hiding the truth.

Math makes you a better problem solver.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an English major or a mathematician, the ability to solve problems using logic while following rules is crucial. You can’t resolve the economic issues of the United States of America with big talk and no thought. In addition, if you’re confronted with an issue of reasoning, you’ll be thankful you had your logic skills sharpened from years of math training. Even if you forget the volume of a sphere is (4/3)πr3, you can’t unlearn the intuition needed to know how to solve a problem.

Studies show people who learn better math in high school make more money than those who don’t. Learning math gives you many more skills than just being able to take the derivative of x2 - ln(x) - csc(x) (which is 2x - (1/x) + cot(x)csc(x)). You develop a strong work ethic. You learn to ask good questions. You stop fearing complex problems. The fact that people who take higher level math at a young age tend to succeed more is not surprising.  

American mathematician William Paul Thurston said “Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding”. Without said understanding of math, the study of physics wouldn’t exist, and then we wouldn’t have modern technology. Development of civilizations would have crawled. Math helps us understand the universe.

Even if you don’t study math for a living, learning it will help you develop skills. You may even want to join the ranks of mathematicians who enhance and spread our understanding of the universe. Maybe you’ll be the next one to solve a million-dollar math question. Regardless of what path you’ve chosen in life, math can and will benefit you.

And here at the WCoM, we'd be thrilled to help you explore the subject!

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