Wednesday, 14 May 2008

"God created Mathematics (I)"

Apologies for not having updated this blog in a long while. Two friends have mentioned it, and now I'm beating the old inertia to start afresh a new one.

Why do people study Math? In school, we're exposed to the idea of something being "more" than others (which are "less"). Like some people are taller - they have "more" height than others. Or perhaps we'd assign something more specific to denote that height - like 6 feet, or 183 cm.

Numbers, therefore, play a part as a scale for comparison in everyday human life.

And as we go into more schooling - and delve into more Math - we get exposed to the idea of unknowns. Some unknowns can become known. Some require that other unknowns be known first. Like if we know that three people have a total of 24 DVD's, and if we know that two of them have 4 each, we can tell - or calculate, deduce, conclude - how many the third person has.

The equation to represent this problem could be:
4+4+x = 24

And the solution steps:
8+x = 24
8+x-8 = 24-8
x = 16

It's algebra (where everybody writes about x, y, z and all other letters instead of unknown number one, unknown number two, unknown number three and so on...because it's shorter).

Mathematics also has an intimate relationship with logic, as is taught in secondary schools. Like:
All herbivores eat plants.
I am a herbivore.
Therefore I eat plants.
The first two statements are called premises, and the third is called the conclusion.

Let me introduce to you the contrapositive, which is also a valid argument:
All herbivores eat plants.
I do not eat plants.
Therefore I am not a herbivore.
It follows this format
Statement: "If P, then Q"
Contrapositive: "If not Q, then not P"

I was quite fascinated by this fact when I first encountered it last year!

And where else does Math take us? There are a lot of places.
The three mentioned above are number theory, linear algebra and logic.

Some more that I've superficially encountered:
Graph theory
-path and circuits, Hamiltonian and Eulerian

Functions
-quadratic, cubic, hyperbolic

Statistics
-median, quartiles, t-tests, ANOVA

To be continued.

2 comments:

LimZhi said...

Hey! It reminds me of our choral speaking on Maths. Huhu..miss those days so much!! U still keep the script? Can include here! =) *just a suggestion*

Muck, and supposed to be Mark said...

life, starting from the point of our birth til our death, revolves around maths.

before a body can be placed into a particular coffin, correct measurements are needed.

yet there are still a lot of kids out there deprived from learning maths.