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The Intriguing Relationship between Science and Math

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By: Dr. Reyaz Ahmad

Even though many people appreciate the glories of science, there is a fascinating paradox that comes up when the subject of mathematics is brought up. Frequently characterized as difficult, demanding, and occasionally even unnecessary, mathematics does not appear to elicit the same level of affection. This occurrence raises the question, “Why is math so often looked down upon?”

It is general knowledge that not all subjects are loved by all people, and math is no exception. Although other people might not care too much about it, open hatred seems confusing. Neither math should feel like a chore nor should it cause agony. Removing oneself from the situation could help one’s anger to subside and create a neutral position if the urge to interact with math is the source of the problem.

Individuals’ choices are as diverse as the people who possess them. For example, a person may enjoy science fiction stories immensely but not care for the movies that adapt them. However, where does this dislike of math come from? Is this feeling fuelled by dissatisfaction with our knowledge, a sense that there isn’t enough real-world application, or perhaps by the simplistic and sometimes mocked mathematical models?

Even if mathematical skills are not very pleasant, they are necessary to understand the essence of science. Let’s continue to be passionate about science and maybe we may reduce the pressure of learning the more difficult parts of mathematics.

Mathematics is a discipline that involves rigorous proofs, abstract reasoning, and pattern detection. It is much more than just crunching numbers. In terms of problem-solving, experimentation, and the articulation of physical principles and hypotheses, it is similar to science. If you’re passionate in science but math seems unappealing to you, it might be time to investigate its hidden sides. You could start by reading up on understudied mathematical ideas or discovering the fun of solving math puzzles for fun.

Mathematical disciplines such as differential equations and geometry provide beautiful explanations for the mysteries of terminal velocity in freefall and geometric marvels that tessellate a plane, similar to the hexagonal patterns of a honeycomb.

Unfortunately, not many people—even in the scientific community—acknowledge the intrinsic beauty of mathematics. Math was once admired for its “creative” and “artistic” traits, but somewhere along the line it was relegated to the domains of the “geeky” and “sophisticated.” This distorted perspective could be the result of ignorance or a failure to relate mathematical ideas to practical applications.

Furthermore, the importance of educators cannot be emphasized. The beauty of mathematics must be inspired and communicated by a math instructor, and all too frequently, pupils see a teaching approach that prioritizes memorization over creative thinking. Students may internalize a feeling of failure and get disengaged with arithmetic when they become lost in the cumulative math learning process.

Unlike the physical discoveries of science, the beauty of arithmetic is invisible and requires explanation in order to be fully appreciated. Many people are unable to appreciate mathematics’ appeal on their own, even with the help of stimulating literature or puzzles. This deficiency is primarily the result of educational institutions.

In fact, the conventional educational approach to math, which frequently emphasizes memorization and drills, hasn’t done much to highlight its elegance or significance. It should come as no surprise that a lot of people decide to give up math as soon as possible when faced with assignments that are challenging, unpleasant, and appear without reward. Social narratives that categorize people as “math people” or not only aggravate this problem by ingraining mathematics into people’s identities and preventing them from ever appreciating it in the future.

While there is hope that educational reform will improve the way math is taught and perceived, real transformation is sadly rare. Reform initiatives frequently place more emphasis on test scores than on cultivating awe.

(The author is a Faculty of Mathematics, Department of General Education SUC, Sharjah, UAE)


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