me, thinking out loud…

Mathematics and Me

Imagine a kid reading Shakespeare’s Othello or As You Like it…[or may be some other classic poem…] with great difficulty he somehow manages to read the whole thing… [with all the archaic language etc..] he understands the basic plot and the story and likes it… but will he be able to appreciate the work? Will he be able to see the beauty of it?? Isn’t a good knowledge of Language a bare essential for one to enjoy a Literary work??

Now consider a layman… listening to Classical [say Carnatic] Music… if he’s got no knowledge of the Basic structure and organisation of Music in general or a Raga in particular.. then he may enjoy the musical work… listen to it happily…. but will he get the taste of its nectar from the fine intricacies in it?? Isn’t a basic sense of Music… a knowledge of the language of Music necessary to understand the fine points of a Musical piece??

Isn’t the case similar with Science [Feynman says nature..]?? Without a proper knowledge base in Mathematics.. how would I possibly understand and appreciate Physics/Science (in general..) and Relativity in particular?? [I got this feeling, after class today, for the zillionth time…] How can I possibly enjoy a course in Relativity without a proper Math background???
I need to learn a lot of Mathematics.. its high time I do it… :(

To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature … If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.
Richard P. Feynman


Comments on: "Mathematics and Me" (5)

  1. Anagha Mudigonda said:

    To get a good knowledge of the language, reading classics is the way and to be appreciate the classics, it’s necessary to have a good knowledge of the language ..
    Paradoxical yet true .. It would’nt help much if you start off learning the language with a dictionary ;)
    It’s a layered thing. Once you read it and appreciate it you get something out of it, another time something else and yet another time something else. That’s what makes a classic. It will enable you to learn more about yourself … Read Gandhiji’s ‘The story of my experiments with truth’. I read it once in high school and thought I got the point. Then I read it a few years later and got something more from it. And so on ….
    But even the basic language skills are better obtained by reading a good book. The most English I learned was by reading Oliver Twist.
    Music ? Math and Physics ? Greek and Latin ?
    No idea dude .. absolutely no idea ..

  2. punchagan said:

    wow! that’s quite a nice thing you told me.. i think i knew this but i never told it to myself so vividly… thanks.. :D

  3. Kartik Krovvidi said:

    i need an answer for this punch!

    when you and steven speilberg are watching an action thriller movie together who is enjoying it more!!?

    wat i fell is both are enjoying it in two different ways… u enjoying the essence of the movie, the storyline the suspence and so on.. but steven will i guess be enjoying the technical beauty creative input and the behind the scene work of the technical crew and all that stuff… he wont be able to enjoy a part where there is a minor mistake technically b’coz he is aware of it and u unaware of it will ignore that and cherish the rest…
    similarly in music if u are ignorant of a minor apasruthi in the raagaa u will leave that but still enjoy.. but a pandit cant help condemning that mistake… i may be wrong in some(rather many) cases but cant help argueing that way b’coz though i am a layman in many fields..i like to enjoy some thing which is worth it!
    I just cant quit reading a shakespeare novel only because i am not verbally rich.though i might not get the complete essence of it :(

  4. punchagan said:

    i’m not talking here abt quitting..
    neways.. speilberg will better appreciate the work done.. isn’t it.. [he might crib for the mistakes though…] but he will catch the nuances of a shot and appreciate the idea and innovation…
    ok i can’t tell this with movies but… ok.. what i think is if we don’t have enuf knowledge abt the technical aspects [or deeper aspects.. or whatever u call it]… ie if we look at things superficially we may miss the beauty of a thing.. that’s what i wanna say..
    for example most ppl fail to c the beauty of classical music.. [they might even hate it!!] because they look at it very superficially.. but u wud agree dat its one of the most beautiful things…
    similarly with physics.. [btw..dats wat i’m worried abt..] if i don’t get enuf math into me.. i begin to look at things superficially… i might fail to enjoy it.. [or in the worst case even hate it??]…
    i mean we may miss the subtleties.. and fail to capture the beauty…
    [coming to u being a layman.. atleast don’t tell that to me…]

  5. you got it spot on dude… all the jazz apart, it is better you get a good hang of probability and stochastic processes. there are so many applications that you can find for these things in science and engg. keep reading general books on math too… there is a hell lotsa stuff online.

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