Friday, May 29, 2009

A prime year to be a mathematician

First, a confession.  I love math.  My special love is teaching calculus.  Although, as with children, there is plenty of love to go around.  Topology (especially negatively curved spaces) and analysis (calculus on steroids) get plenty.  Not algebra, but that is a different story.  Some day I hope to make peace with algebra.  

Next, a coincidence.  Number theory, another area of math, uses prime numbers a lot.  These are the numbers that you cannot get by multiplying two other numbers together (excluding itself and 1).  The first few primes are: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13...  Well, it just so happens that soon our children will be 2, 3, 5, and 7.  What an excellent year to love math.  (And, no, this was not planned.)

Finally, a choice.  The Professor would like me to give number theory a try.  Since my only class in the subject was the summer we were engaged, he has a point.  And so I have decided to humor him (and inject a bit of intellectual exercise into my currently mind-numbing life.)  I have begun to work through a fascinating book on number theory.  (It uses the Moore method, for those who care.)  I find that math hasn't changed during the years I've neglected it.  Whenever I don't understand a concept, I don't enjoy what I'm doing and get quite frustrated.  But the minute the pieces fall into place, the beauty is breathtaking.  And the pride of discovering the proper places in the puzzle leaves me both satisfied and hungry for more.  I suspect this endeavor will be an on-again, off-again one that may take a long time.  Yet, I hope to continue.  For I've been reminded, mathematics brings me joy.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad it does, I don't know how many people would be able to agree with that though ;)
    I see what you are saying though, there is something nice about being able to find a definite answer and that the answer won't change and is constant. We all need more constant things in our lives :)