Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Accidental Mathematician – Journey from “Why Maths” to “Maths you Beauty”

Prof. Kalika Srivastava
The NorthCap University, Gurgaon

My blog is not an effort to make look Mathematics easy because it isn’t. The blog is not about advocating how Maths makes sense because it certainly does.

This blog is my contribution to narrowing the gap between Theory and Practice in Mathematics. It is the connecting bridge between teaching & learning which shows relevance of Mathematics to all the young Gen Z Students.

Looking at life from a student’s eyes, we realize that Mathematics becomes ‘prime enemy’ for most of the students from the moment books are given to their hands. The scare of Maths grows exponentially with age as they realize all the Xs, Aplhas, Betas & Gammas compound against their interests. This is the “Why Maths” stage of our life as we feel Maths and common life are mutually exclusive sets.


But what we all fail to understand is that Maths lays the foundations of all our achievements. As Einstein once said, “Go down deep into anything & you will find Mathematics in it.”

A student of mine working as a Game Analyst for a major ISV pointed out how Mathematics actually shapes every day in our lives:
  • Mobile Phones: The whole of mobile calling & Internet capabilities revolves around Mathematical algorithms & frameworks.
  • Banking: Today everyone is a user of handling accounts & at least personal finances. This would not have been possible without the habits of permutations, combinations & huge number analysis inculcated into our minds by Maths.
  • Arts:Maths is even used by artists while making paintings, designing collages as well as during dance performances. In all these cases, the size of the canvas, size of the stage, space required, etc. play a very important role. Deciding all these aspects is literally impossible without knowledge of Maths.
  • Kitchen Work: Every ingredient is measured to precision to bring the perfect taste in the dishes. This precision taste has been inculcated into our mind, set through learnings from Maths.
  • Shopping: This would be a no brainer as we plan to manage our expenses while shopping but end up failing in Maths by underestimating our ability to spend.

Being an MBA from a premier B-School, my student pointed out that during his preparations he realized that all the top examinations give focussed attention to mathematical capabilities, be it global examinations like GMAT or domestic ones like Civil Services, CAT etc.

Some traits inculcated into these stars of the future through Mathematics which these examiners look for, are:
  • Problem Solving– Every sphere of professional & personal life poses numerous questions. It has been Mathematics which has equipped us to not get bogged down by the problems, instead move step by step towards the ultimate solution.
  • Logical Thinking – A logical mind will always succeed in life as every step it takes, every decision it makes, will have a purpose or a reason towards the ultimate goal. This trait can also be credited to the logical thinking capabilities cultivated in us through Maths.
  • Adaptive Reasoning – Adapting to the situation & reasoning with every step have made us not only good managers but also proactive decision makers in both professional & personal sphere of life.
  • Eye for Criticality–Mathematics inculcates the human mind with the ability to access & judge critically what would be the correct or wrong. This goes a long way in creating a balanced personality of an individual.  
  • Creativity – All the better artists in the world credit mathematics for their acute precision & creativity which has helped them in progressing towards achieving their goal.

When we realize the important role played by Mathematics in our lives shaping us as distinguished individuals and credit Mathematics for laying the foundation of our successful journey to the peak of our careers then we are sure to exclaim “Maths, you are a beauty!”


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