When people find out that I am a math major, they throw some numbers at me wanting to know the product. I just laugh and tell them that my major is math, not arithmetic. Math is more than just numbers, using basic operations, and finding a value for ‘x.’ There is such a great range of disciplines contained within the broad subject of Math that it makes it hard to give a concrete definition. Math can be an elegant proof that explains an abstract concept or an equation that is used to project what a rabbit population will be in six years. So, for me, Math is more of a way of thinking. It is logical reasoning. It is looking at patterns and relationships. It is problem solving and explaining phenomena that seem unexplainable.
Four Important Developments for Mathematics
- The Number System: If we didn’t have a consistent numbering system, it would be impossible to communicate any results.
- Axioms: The axioms are at the core of every proof. If the axioms did not exist it would be impossible to have any of the concepts that we do.
- Calculus: Calculus is used across a variety of fields. It has helped us relate position, velocity, and acceleration. It is used in chemistry titrations to determine the concentration of a substance in a solution. The concepts of derivatives and anti-derivatives have helped to solve a vast number of problems.
- Electronic Calculation Ability: While the advancement in technology is not due to mathematicians alone, it has definitely changed mathematics. With each new development we have the ability to solve problems that are more complex and in less time.