Why Math?

At tutoring today Ileen had a student asked her why we should study math and exponents. This question had been floating in my mind for a while, so I thought I should answer it for myself.

Why math? Because math is the new language and structure. Centuries ago we used spoken stories, then philosophy, and now math.  Businesses and scientists use numbers to express their reasoning and logic. Understanding math is understanding a language. The one who knows how to calculate numbers is the modern storyteller.

Numbers can give you a new perspective. Exponents give you scope and logarithms gives you relationship. Flowers does not look the same once you understand the Fibonacci sequence.

— This post has been sitting in my draft box for a week, because I couldn’t properly phrase my thoughts into words. There was an article today in the Georgia Straight where Math Professors discussed the importance of math and he explained it so perfectly.

“I think it’s closer to literature than it is to accounting,” Leung stated.

He said another misconception about math is that the answer to a problem is simply a number. “This is not true,” he declared. “An answer to a mathematical problem is a story. It’s an explanation, a description. Not only does mathematics require grammar the way any other description would require grammar, it also requires an economy of language. It requires imagination, creativity, and communication skills.

Thank you Professor Fok-Shuen Leung for phrasing it so eloquently, my thoughts may now rest.


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