The beauty of maths

In which I make sure to draw a margin and show my working out.

Rachel Riley from Countdown

I am a geek, as has been previously admitted. Which mean that I must have some stereotypical geek habits, and yes one of them is liking maths. In fact it was one of my favourite subjects at school (some old school friends may be surprised at this considering the number of lessons I ‘voluntarily opted-out’ from).

For a start it was the only subject at my school where we were put into groups based on ability, and this helps me no end as I am a competitive kind of person and certainly helped keep me motivated for so many years.

There is something inherently sensible about maths, a kind of permanence to its concepts that you don’t get in other subjects. The basics of maths have been unchanged for millenia, new theories and practices only tend to add to the field as opposed to other subjects where whole ways of thinking can be drastically uprooted when a new paradigm emerges. 1 has been 1 for a very long time, and shall still be 1 tomorrow. In a crazy changing world maths stands as the only true universal language. 1 may be called, and depicted, in various ways but it still means the same thing.

There are beautiful formulas, take a look at the Pythagorean theory for working out the hypotenuse of a triangle. It has been proved in at least 370 different ways that this is true (here are just 41 of those ways), what else in the world can be shown to be true in so many ways?

I loved algebra, and have real difficulty in dealing with people who don’t get it (ask my poor sister) as it seems a simple conceit. Most maths is simple, the problem often arises from those who teach it in such a (ahem) formulaic manner.

Most of all maths taught me some very good habits. I learnt how to order my thoughts, by laying everything out in discrete steps (after all you only get one mark for the right answer, it’s how you got to the answer that matters). I still get moaned at that my spreadsheets at work are over complicated and have too many steps, yet at least can easily identify where a problem arises.

Which quirky habit annoys you the most, and what quirky habit do you love — in yourself, or others.

Source: Quirk of Habit

Author: geekergosum

Ah, so you worked out the riddle. You just needed to use dwarfish and the doors to Geek Ergo Sum opened. Or perhaps you just used Google. Either way you are here, on my little corner of the Internet.

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