Sunday, 21 December 2008

Mathematics - Beautiful For Many Reasons

Mathematics is rife with beauty. Yes beauty. Oh, maybe not the type of physical beauty you are thinking of but a beauty that can only be perceived when you study this subject in all of its fabulous environs. Whether it be the elegance of a particular formula or the economy of expressing something very complicated in a concise way, mathematics trumps the field of aesthetics in a manner worthy of praise.

For one, mathematics has the special beauty of being without hypocrisy. Now you may wonder how being bereft of hypocrisy can be aesthetically appealing. You may ask: "Can you really compare such a situation with the beauty found in a majestic enclave or a sensuous piece of artwork?" Well maybe not exactly, but from an intangible perspective, a lack of hypocrisy is actually a very beautiful thing.

Double talk or double speak---hypocrisy's middle name---finds no place in mathematics. A formula gives the same result all the time and under any circumstance. Mathematical rigor does not succumb to pressure from without. You see, contradictions just do not abound in this wonderful discipline. For example, the quadratic formula always gives us the roots for any quadratic equation regardless of race, religion, or economic background. When a formula predicts an outcome, such as when the Pythagorean Theorem predicts the length of the hypotenuse, given the two side lengths, then this outcome will be obtained regardless of the dispositions of the sides.

When fractals can be condensed to a specific formula and then applied to describe a majestic coastline, we see evidence of beauty all around. When group theory can be applied to subparticle physics, thereby aiding the explanation of the origins of life, mathematics transcends reality and abuts upon divine territory.

In view of these contemplations, it is no wonder that the greatest minds of all time have plumbed as deeply as possible the caverns of this universe, and have tried so hard to get as close to this subject as possible. Maybe by getting closer to mathematics, we can all take a glimpse of that great beyond and behold a beauty unseen in this present world. Until then, we can only sample incomplete beauty in a very imperfect world.

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Joe is a prolific writer of self-help and educational material and an award-winning former teacher of both college and high school mathematics. Joe is the creator of the Wiz Kid series of math ebooks, Arithmetic Magic, the little classic on the ABC's of arithmetic, the original collection of poetry, Poems for the Mathematically Insecure, and the short but highly effective fraction troubleshooter Fractions for the Faint of Heart. The diverse genre of his writings (novel, short story, essay, script, and poetry)-particularly in regard to its educational flavor- continues to captivate readers and to earn him recognition.

Joe propagates his teaching philosophy through his articles and books and is dedicated to helping educate children living in impoverished countries. Toward this end, he donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every ebook. For more information go to

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