Mathematic is more important then just a difficult subject in school curriculum.
Though was educated to be a chemist (I earned most of my degrees in Chemistry) I did dabble quite
a bit in mathematics too. While I was a h! "tudent at IIT #anpur$ I did some post graduate courses
in Mathematical Methods% Topology offered by the Mathematic !epartment of IIT #anpur. I did
enjoy mathematics and perhaps its education has affected my thoughts too.
&ow as I thin' a bit about mathematics. I do belie(e that it can influence the life and thoughts of
people. )ong ago I read a boo'$ that is in my boo'shelf for se(eral decades. It is authored by a (ery
erudite mathematics teacher$W. W. "awyer and is entitled* +relude to Mathematics+. I quote a few
lines from it*
,Mathematics is the classification and study of all possible patterns.+ attern is here used in a way
that not e(eryone may agree with. It is to be understood in a (ery wide sense$ to co(er almost any
'ind of regularity that can be recogni-ed by the mind. )ife$ and certainly intellectual life$ is only
possible because there are certain regularities in the world. . bird recogni-es the blac' and yellow
bands in a wasp% man recogni-es the growth of a plant follows the sowing of a seed. In each case a
mind is aware of the pattern./
Then I disco(ered the following paragraph from an essay entitled ,What is Mathematics/*
“When we think of what a "pattern" is, we usually thinking wallpaper or floor tiles, but as it refers
to mathematics we are referring to a property, a category, a type, or a kind of something. Pattern
here refers to relationships between things, not the things themselves. This is a very broad definition
of mathematics, but a fairly accurate one. Every topic of mathematics has to do with patterns or
relationships, though the reverse is probably not true there are patterns and relationships which
are not mathematical !though they certainly fall into some branch of science"...#
I too ha(e thought about p atterns and written a small essay0
Those are the opinions of professional mathematicians or mathematics teachers$ but I hold an
independent opinion$ which is seldom e1pressed in any class of maths. I thin' that the abstract
thin'ing that mathematics promotes$ can be (ery useful in life$ it can help in leading a purposeful
life e(en when not applied directly. I do thin' that concepts li'e functions$ functionals and
topologies ha(e far deeper ramifications in our common e1periences that are seldom e1plored and
tal'ed about$ whether between teachers and students or otherwise$ simply because most of us are
scared of mathematics. Wallace "te(ens wrote in a poem*
$ationalists, wearing s%uare hats,
Think, in s%uare rooms,
&ooking at the floor,
&ooking at the ceiling.
They confine themselves
To right'angled triangles.
Rakesh Mohan Hallen

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