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Why do People Love Math?

By Sofya Shatalova

Just a regular day in calculus. Photo by Sofya Shatalova

“Hey Marcus? What’s cool about math?” I asked.

He looked away from his board of formula’s that I couldn’t even begin to comprehend and said “Fractals.”

So I decided to research fractals a little more myself, and learned that they are fascinating. Fractals can be watched like running water, never-ending and beautiful. They are mathematical sets that have a repeating pattern at any scale. Junior, Marcus Luebke, also showed me the Mandelbrot Set, which really captured my attention. On the one hand, fractals look like something crazy from Alice in Wonderland, but to put it simply, they are numbers compiled in a set.

A class that provided me with the most insight to math’s appeal, was calculus. According to junior, Milo Aronica, that’s when the math starts to get really fun.

“So what is math to you? What makes you like it so much?” I asked.

“Math is great. There’s a lot of inherent beauty in math,” he pronounced, moving his hands around in front of him as if grasping something.

“Is there anything that recently you found that intrigued you? Something that really got you excited?”

Without a pause, he said “Euler’s formula.”

Before I could ask what that was, we were told that class was over and we had to head out. Prior to parting ways, Aronica told me it was very interesting and very much worth a look at. I won’t lie, it did make me excited about math more than I expected from a formula.

Junior, Natalie Cheyette, a fellow calculus student thought of math a little differently.

“Math is full of patterns,” she explained. “Like the cycles of i. I enjoy the simplicity in higher math. Like making things to the power of zero. They all equal to one. It’s a simple rule, but it makes me feel like I know more. I feel smart while doing simple stuff like that.”

“Oh I know! Hold on a sec,” said someone behind me.

I turned to junior, Arthur Yu, who typed something in quickly in his Chromebook before turning around. I was greeted with a green checkmark from MathXL: “Nice Work”.

“Getting your answers right?”

He went back to typing his answers.

“Yeah. I like writing up notes and them actually working. The satisfaction of the preparation paying off. That’s what math is like to me.”

I decided to bring up math outside of its regular hours, at a cafe on a Friday evening.

“What does math mean to me?” sophomore, Malia Savella, muttered, her expression not changing.

“Yeah,” I replied, sipping my drink in the comfortable environment in the not-so-comfortable cafe chair. “Anything works.”

“Math is like shapes and lines,” she said, moving her finger in a vague parabola-esque shape. “And then it all comes together.”

“So graphs?”

“Yeah, pretty much.” She nudged one of her friends for their thoughts, but we were interrupted by Gordon Ramsay coming onto the large TV  and the conversation slowly died. Math never stays in the conversation for long.

 

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