Roz Chast http://rozchast.com |

**What is math?**

- Lots of "math is more than numbers" or "it is not about computation"
- Relationships
- Sara: "math is patterns."
- Jennifer: "Math is more of a way of thinking. It is logical reasoning. It is looking at patterns and relationships. It is problem solving and explaining phenomena that seem unexplainable."
- Kate: "I think math is thinking logically, understanding facts and finding relationships between different mathematical concepts."
- Alex: "Math is the study of relationships that many people take for granted."
- Annette: "math is an explanation or an attempt to explain relationships we find in nature or ones that we create."
- Kristine: "math is how we can apply numerical values to how the world works."
- Basis of science
- Becky: "Math can be used to problem solve, find patterns, make predictions, provide reasoning, and much more which is all in the tool box of math – the resource for information."
- Bryce: "Math is the science of solving problems."
- Josh: "Math is the one science that every other subject has in common."
- Kenton: "The reason that I call math a "science" is because without math, no scientific studies would be able to be quantified, all studies would have to be qualitative and therefore much less precise."
- Logical system
- Kerry: "Mathematics is a fantastically broad, beautifully intricate, complexly connected concept of numbers and symbols."
- Emily: "math is thinking critically about different kinds of systems. These systems can range from the number system in algebra and calculus, to a system of shapes, such as geometry, to a system of rings as we saw in modern algebra."
- Andy: "Mathematics is a method for conveying logical principles. A proven mathematical theorem is a reality about logic; it is some organizing principle inherent in the human mind."
- Language.
- Duncan: "mathematics is the most beautiful language in all of the universe."
- Final answers:
- Biz: "For me, math has been a source of intrigue, education, and frustration."
- Matt: "To ask what is mathematics is like asking what is life. There is no definitive answer."

**Top 5**

I also asked what are the biggest moments/discoveries in history of math. (Top 5 or milestones, etc.)

- Famous Stuff
- Pythagorean theorem 9
- Fibonacci Sequence 9
- Pi 4
- Fundamental Theorem of Calculus 3
- Natural logarithms and e 2
- Kepler’s laws of planetary motions
- Any of the Fundamental Theorems
- Law of Sines
- Quadratic Formula
- I Ching
- Fractals
- ϕ
- Culture
- Numbers 9
- Calculators/Computers 8
- Abacus 3
- Discovery of zero 3
- Understanding of different formulas
- Development of measuring units
- Ancient Geometry
- Math in astronomy.
- Concepts
- Unit circle
- Function
- Pattern
- Combinations (in counting)
- Infinity
- Axioms
- Parallel postulate
- the need for complex numbers
- prime numbers
- Fields
- Calculus 7
- Algebra 4
- Calculus 3
- Non-Euclidean Geometry 3
- Geometry
- Differential Equations
- People
- Euclid 7
- Euler
- Newton
- Archimedes
- Gauss
- Karl Pearson (new to me!)

One more interesting comment:

- Danielle: "The founders of mathematics struggled and devoted their whole lives to the theorems we now take for granted when studying in our classes. I can’t imagine devoting my whole life to proving what we consider now a simple concept."

*Image*: I saw this at Peter Liljedahl's very worthwhile site. Even Google couldn't help me find the original. Doesn't it look like it's from the New Yorker? EDIT: Tweeps nailed this one: Roz Chast, a frequent New Yorker contributor.

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