The British mathematician Sir John Kingman once said,
“Mathematicians are better if they stay a bit childish and play the game as a game. This is the key to teaching mathematics, it’s not to flood people with practical problems, rather it’s to say that this is the best game that has ever been invented. It beats Monopoly, it beats chess and it happens that it can enable you to land rockets on the moon. The real mathematical advances have been made by people who just loved it.”
It can be argued that mathematics is part of our history, our culture and our future. David Cameron once said,
“If countries are going to win in the global race and children compete and get the best jobs, you need mathematicians and scientists – pure and simple.”
Mathematics is a beautiful and powerful subject, it is the poetry of logical ideas. What other subject is the foundation of science, engineering and technology. It influences the structure of art and music. Mathematics teaches geography to geographers, economics to economist and physics to physicist. Mathematics is truly a global phenomenon.
One can only truly appreciate mathematics, by getting right in the middle of the challenging intellectual arena, to constantly pursue and conquer the logically battle for that elusive truth. One of the most influential and universal mathematician of the 19th and early 20th century, David Hilbert, once said,
“Distance in four dimensions means nothing to the layman. Even four-dimensional space is wholly beyond ordinary imagination. But the mathematician is not called upon to struggle with the bounds of imagination, but only with the limitations of his logical faculties.”
He goes on to say;
“A mathematical theory is not to be considered complete until you have made it so clear that you can explain it to the first man whom you meet on the street.”
Mathematics is indisputably the greatest subject in the world! Why? Because it is the language of the world. Mathematics crosses racial, geographical and cultural boundaries.
My name is Prof. Nira Chamberlain and I am proud to be a mathematician.