As you know from my previous post (1st week at PCMI) I am in this place where there are a lot of mathematicians. There is a math talk at breakfast, lunch, dinner and we have lectures, tutorials, workshops. I got to find so many interesting random things about the people that work in this field.
But one lunch break we had a strange conversation with an old university teacher. And I felt quite strange and a little annoyed at some point. He had this idea that everyone should have a degree in mathematics. He told us that he is emailing all the people that are admitted to the college/university (don’t remember which really) to change their degree/program and chose mathematics. He gave us an example: psychology is useless and not interesting, but the math applied in it is wonderful. I felt so strange and annoyed by this. I was thinking about this for a long long time after.
I understand his feeling about mathematics being very important and that people should understand it. But from this to doing a degree in mathematics is quite long… Do I really want everyone to do it? Do I really consider everyone can do it? I was raised to believe that mathematics is something that not everyone can do, like I am not good at literature and things like this. But I believe that some parts of it everyone should know. Also, depending on the teaching method and the individual I think there is something beauty in math for everyone, but not sure if it is on a university/college level.
I have to say that even for me it is quite complicated and I enjoy mathematics. But sometimes it gets so hard that I want to give up. For me it was (still is) hard work and ambition. Also, every time I encounter something new I need to find something beautiful or enjoyable in it.I have this feeling that I just need to work hard until I get to find that beautiful part in it. You might say that this applies for every subject and I could do this with everything, but mathematics gives me more reasons to look for these things and I get the most excited when I find it.
Even if I love it that much and I want to change people’s beliefs about math, to show them the interesting and beautiful things in it, I believe that they should not be forced to like it. And I believe that all subjects are important and play an important role in our society. I like to think that our society is like a union of all these subjects (not a disjoint union) and that math just has a lot of applications and has more intersection with other subjects. That is why we should know something about it.
What I believe is quite a good idea is that everyone should do some math related course at university. Even physiology or philosophy or languages can have some applied math course. But I feel that they should just see the importance of math in their subject and not learn about strange formulas or exercises. Another thing I find interesting is to do a combined degree. For example, at University of Aberdeen you can choose to do mathematics with whatever you want (biology, physics, computer science, philosophy, economy, languages, history and even religion).
As you can see this idea gave me a lot to think about. What do you think? Should everyone have a degree in math? Hope you are all having fun this summer, don’t forget to check my Facebook event: Mathematics and Summer ^_^ Thank you for your help and support. Thank you for reading. You can find me on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Twitter, Instagram and Lettrs, I will try to post there as often as possible. Don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy!