Mathematics, Magic and Mystery
I love maths. Specifically I love numbers the way some people feel about art, music and literature. I love words too and most of my friends and family understand that but very few understand my fascination with mathematics.
It’s all about patterns and the concept of infinity – the thrill of a proof that falls into place or knowing a problem has taken to its infinite end. I first discovered the patterns when I learned to count and realised I could just keep going. Numbers were infinite and because there was a pattern to the way they were incremented, I could count all day if I wanted to (and when I was 4 I thought that was heaps of fun).
At school I discovered all sorts of different maths and once again there were patterns to formula, equations and proofs, infinite tendencies to infinity. The mind boggled when I first found out about imaginary and complex numbers. I was four all over again. The possibilities were endless.
At Uni I survived two years of Statistics by applying the patterns and most of the time it worked out right even if I hadn’t learned the where and why. I late enrolled in a Maths degree but life got in the way of something I was doing for fun. As an adult maths constricted to become the tedious chore of juggling the budget and for a while the magic disappeared.
|Mandlebrot – Mathematics Stack Exchange|
Last month was, April 2014, was Maths Awareness Month (MAM), something I discovered thanks to Twitter (#MathAwarenessMonth). The theme for this year was Mathematics, Magic and Mystery, a tribute to mathematics writer Martin Gardner, “whose extensive writings introduced the public to hexaflexagons, polyominoes, John Conway’s Game of Life, Penrose tiles, the Mandelbrot set, and much more. “ (http://www.mathaware.org/index.html ) 2014 is the centenary of his death.