How to Fall in Love with Math, Manlil Suri

Reflection Paper Feb/15

Sarah Myers

Math is something I make a point of staying away from because it’s terrifying. I begin to see math as rational thought, not just drill after drill after drill like I was previously taught. So much emphasis is put on math as something to get through and get over with, not to understand below surface level by applying its rules to surroundings.

Do we all crave math? I never thought I had craved math. Maybe what he means is I crave a rational understanding of the world around me. I had never been comfortable with numbers or wanted to get to know them. But knowing things like Fibonacci numbers and how this relates to nature puts sorts of things into perspective. This relation between nature and mathematics gives reason to simple pattern and therefore increases my appreciation for math. I recognize this order in pinecones and flowers but then I notice I start to seek the pattern elsewhere in the world, this could be one way that someone would crave math. Not strictly in a numbers sense, but in pattern.

It is curious to know numbers themselves and their properties. For example: natural number, prime number, rational number, and irrational numbers. I don’t know exactly how knowing this helps but I feel that it does. I think the familiarity with the numbers themselves makes math more playful then when taught as sets of cold fact.

Not needing to understand complicated derivations is something I had not considered. Math was usually taught that you learn one thing so you know it and can move on to next, more complicated formula after. There is not time given to appreciate the simple formula because the bigger one is waiting. For whatever reason, there is some kind of structure set up that implies learning basics math is not enough. It is relief to know that basic math is just as important. Such things like the pigeonhole principle, this we may intuitively know but never have been aware that math was the reason behind it. This is how profound insights can be found at an uncomplicated level. (….though I sort of find the basics of basics math complicated). And therefore at any level, math can be appreciated. I think this is something what Manlil was getting at.

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