Should everyone have a degree in math?

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).

Learning-Materials--Poster-Math-Its-Everywhere--T-A63087_L

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 FacebookTumblr, Google+,  TwitterInstagram and Lettrs, I will try to post there as often as possible. Don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy! 

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8 thoughts on “Should everyone have a degree in math?

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  1. I am a math major, and I agree that a math degree is not for everyone. Like you, I believe that students should be given a better grounding in it, which includes a better idea of what it is. But, thank God, we are all different. As such, not everyone can be expected to have a deep interest in math. Instead, they have deep interests in subjects that I am not interested in. And such an arrangement makes the world go around.

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  2. I am a prospective math major, and I certainly doubt getting everyone to take a math degree will even work out. Besides, once everyone gets a math degree, we lose our niche. That’s bad for our survival. Okay, that’s a rather selfish thought. On the other hand, we also should not make everyone love a particular subject; it is impossible to do so anyway.The professor which made that claim has to be rather extremist to blurt out something like that.

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