Mathematics for a Better World
Some countries have recently declared mathematics to be “in crisis”, being rejected by students who consider the subject to be boring. This Day is all about remembering what mathematics is for, and in particular, how it can be the basis of innovation for sustainable development. We must recognise that mathematics, even in its most theoretical aspects, really concerns all of us.Audrey Azoulay
Thinking about mathematics, someone wondered, “It may not teach us how to add love or subtract hate. But it gives us every reason to hope that every problem has a solution”. This is the second year the world is observing “The International Day of Mathematics”. In 2019 UNESCO proclaimed March 14 of every year as the International Day of Mathematics. An initiative led by the International Mathematical Union with the support of numerous international and regional organisations. March 14 was chosen as the date it was already being celebrated in many countries as Pi Day. On March 14, or 3/14, Pi Day is being observed because π, one of the world’s most widely known mathematical constants, can be rounded to 3.14. In India, National Mathematics Day is observed every year on December 22 to celebrate the birth anniversary of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. World Maths Day is also commemorated on the first Wednesday of March. In 2010, World Maths Day created a Guinness World Record for the Largest Online Maths Competition.
Mathematics may be defined as “the study of relationships among quantities, magnitudes and properties, and of the logical operations by which unknown quantities, magnitudes, and properties may be deduced” (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia) or “the study of quantity, structure, space and change” (Wikipedia). Mathematics is an essential part of humankind’s cultural heritage. It is present in arts, music, and games for human enjoyment and well-being.
Greater global awareness of mathematical sciences is vital to developing emerging areas like Artificial intelligence and understand climate change. Often the basic research in mathematical sciences sows the seeds for breakthroughs in technology and society’s management. In finding solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, mathematics played an essential role by modelling and providing tools to help us understand, monitor, and control the spread of the virus. The role it plays in enhancing weather forecasts and preparing for natural disasters is well acknowledged. Mathematics helps to optimise transportation and communication networks and enables smart planning and management of health, economic, and social systems.
The baton of mathematics was carried by the east, particularly China, India, and the medieval Islamic empire, before the focus of mathematical innovation moved back to Europe in the late Middle Ages. India had a rich tradition of mathematical brilliance. Panini, Pingala, Sulba Sutras (appendices of Vedas), Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, and so many. In more recent times, the contributions of Satyendra Nath Bose, CR Rao, PC Mahalanobis. Srinivasa Ramanujan was undoubtedly among the world’s greatest mathematicians in the 20th century.
Philosophically life oscillates between Shunya to Anantha (zero to infinity). Sound mathematical knowledge is essential to progress in all domains of learning. Simplification is not only valid in mathematics, but it teaches us to simplify the complexities of life.
Interestingly Mathematics is the common language of the planet, whichever way it is written. Learn mathematics in the best way.