If Math Is Language



Those of you who know me will laugh at my writing about the subject which dogged me throughout my education. But a math teacher on Twitter challenged me to write something very quickly she could read to her students. This is the best I could do.


Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe. – Galileo

If this is true, then at the very least the Universe is itself speaking. It is saying something about all of reality.

It is saying something about all you see, whether mighty towering oaks or iPads. Roaring waves and tanned skin. It is saying something about all you see, whether the sound of traffic or the voice of a favorite singer.

Behind it all is a language the whole Universe whispers to those who will listen. Sometimes in whispers, sometimes in screams.

In the midst of what seems like chaos, the numbers and signs of this language remind us there is order and meaning. And this is as true for those in the midst of the war-like shelling in Libya as it would be for the fight over cancer in a small town in Louisiana.

The word problems and equations students frustratingly hover over at desks are but postcards carefully scribed from the center of all that has been made. And here is the mystery for those who will think deeply – the very language we labor to understand speaks of what and who we are. if we ignore this language as if it were spoken by a tribe in the darkness of distant jungles, we cannot know ourselves. We will only play at the edge of knowing ourselves like those who only step for a moment in the weak edge of the surf.

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