Mathematics - An Introduction

It is noticeable that a disproportionate number of 'celebrities' like to say in public, on TV or wherever, that they are 'hopeless at maths'.
What could be the reason for this? Is it because they consider the public to be stupid and they want to appear to be one of the gang? Or are they genuinely less intelligent than the average Joe? Whatever the answer is, I wish that they would keep that information to themselves, because it gives school children a reason for giving up on the subject to.
Very few people find mathematics 'easy', but it does get easier the more you practice.
A simple fact of life is that we all have to use maths every day of our lives.
Whether it is simply the counting of money, adding up the cost or purchases or measuring out ingredients for a recipe.
People should not give children an excuse for giving up on mathematics.
It is irresponsible to do so.
This will surprise many people, but mathematics is not strictly considered a science, but a distinct branch of learning all on its own.
However, in recognition of the contribution that maths has made to the study of all the other sciences, it is allowed to be included in the group generally called 'science'.
Roughly speaking, mathematics consists of three things: a set of abstract symbols; a set of rules for manipulating them and the results of the manipulation of these two sets.
In their simplest form, the abstract symbols are numbers or their representatives; the rules are as simple as addition or subtraction; and the results are 2+2=4.
It is because of this cover-all description that some people view mathematics as a kind of language and others describe it as a kind of game.
(How many more children would change their view of mathematics if famous people described it as a game?) Most mathematicians think that there is a deeper reality to maths than it being just a game.
Even those that see it as a game, say that there is a strong correlation between mathematical formula and reality - look at fractals, for instance.
Fractals were discovered fairly recently, but we now know that plants, shells and even animals develop according to the rules of fractal formula.
(It is outside the scope of this article to go into fractals, but Google it and you will be amazed).
Most people learn some arithmetic and geometry in the younger classes at school.
Later, in a higher school, they may learn some calculus.
One of the amazing things about this, is that none of these principles has been successfully challenged for at least 300 years.
No other branch of learning can say that.
However, over the last 300 years, other branches of mathematics have been discovered and some of them are extremely complicated, often requiring years of tuition to understand, but those lofty realms are a far cry from the arithmetic we learned at school and that we use every day in our normal daily lives.
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