What is mathematics? Most people would say it has something to do with numbers, but numbers are just one type of mathematical structure.
Saying “math is the study of numbers” (or something similar) is like saying that “zoology is the study of giraffes”. Math may be better thought of as the study of patterns, but this too falls short...
The more I study math, the more I wonder about what exactly math is. Actually nobody knows.
It seems to be a product or our minds, and yet reflects the external universe with uncanny accuracy.
A mathematician develops a mathematical theory for its aesthetic unworldly beauty and it's compelling evolution, with no thought of how it might be applied to the world. A century later a physicist finds this theory to be perfect to use as a framework to express his physics (this sort of thing happens frequently).
Pretty weird how intimately connected our innermost “mind” and the outermost “universe” really are. This is a profound mystery!
Bruce Bennett, my advisor in grad school, defines mathematics as “unified consciousness theory”.
As you come to master a branch of mathematics, it's as though you've grown a new abstract organ of perception through which you may then view the world. You've grown a new “mind’s eye” that can perceive realities literally inconceivable without this new organ of perception.
Rafael Espericueta, Professor of Mathematics, Bakersfield College
The Bakersfield College Math Club seeks to promote the understanding and usefulness of mathematics campus-wide by providing a social atmosphere for those who are interested in or would like to know more about mathematics.
For more information, contact Janet Tarjan at firstname.lastname@example.org.