April 10, 2021

Interdisciplinary Discourse

Forum for KU Academics

Perspectives on Mathematics

 – Kanhaiya Jha
Students often feel that what they are taught is useless in practical life. French Philosopher  and  mathematician Rene Discartes (1596 – 1650) once said, “People hate maths, so let’s turn it into picture to make it easier.” Often, the student does not easily understand what is being taught because he is unable to visualize what in fact is going on. But it is the only subject where one may get hundred out of hundred, yet people say it is difficult. It definitely requires more effort and time than other subjects. But due to its wide applications and importance, it has been made a compulsory subject worldwide for the students in the school level to university level curriculum and more weightage have been given to maths. As knowledge of English language helps people to communicate well with others, maths has been proved to have the same role as science and technology. Therefore, to understand the existing technological developments, maths has become a necessary tool. But one does not need to be a mathematician; one at least requires knowing about the widespread contribution of mathematics. 
Maths is the base for almost all scientific developments and modern technology.  Maths is also used as a powerful means of communication. An updated Standard syllabus and equivalent recognized text books of many universities help students to develop an understanding of theoretical concepts as well as problem solving skills in maths. Teachers can play a vital role for motivating students towards this  subject, giving more applications and connecting it to other fields. Knowledge is unlimited, so a healthy and regular interaction between teachers and students can produce beautiful results. Students can derive more benefit from studying maths only when they appreciate its beauty and operate it properly. Topics with elementary roots and strong interconnections should be taught with great care. Instead of making straight leap to the problems while at the classroom, some preliminary discussion on how, when and why particular concept developed helps to create a positive attitude.
Definitions in maths ensure that everyone agrees on the meaning of the terminologies and concepts. Theorems in mathematics provide the user with the reassurance of validation and a model of logical argument. The use of theorems and logical arguments lead the mathematicians to only one correct (exact) solution. By doing maths, students develop skills in problem solving, reasoning, connections and communications. The skill developed by doing maths makes students efficient, accurate and confident decision makers. However, it is possible only when they appreciate its intensity and work hard. It requires regular practice and more concentration on the topic. Not only can this broaden our horizons, but also provide an opportunity to apply our knowledge and skills in the applications of mathematical sciences to other fields. Also, modern mathematics education emphasizes the development of understanding among students. Maths continues to flourish through the growing power of its applications and much of its utility is enhanced through the computer. Indian and Chinese mathematical systems have been highly appreciated by the world mathematicians and due to their remarkable achievements and significant contributions, they have been able to establish themselves as top in software technology. Today, the mathematician works in a world of intense scientific investigation aided by a revolution in methods of computation and means of communication. His thinking is a part of the whole climate of intellectual thought in which distinction between the pure and applied, abstract and practical is too subtle to be of much use.
Maths is a fascinating world – a world full of mysteries and wonders, a world full of joy and excitement, of divine beauty and grace. No other area of human activity is ever as glamorous as maths and yet is depressing. It should be kept in mind that the study of maths is never complete unless one can apply what one has learned in solving problems of real life and in intellectual gymnastics.
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