Real vs. Abstract


I am a budding mathematician and feel the conflict of abstract and real world on daily basis. So I have decided to clarify this.

The word ‘mathematics’ comes from the Greek mathemata , meaning “things that are learned”. Greeks included study of numbers, space, astronomy and music as mathematical subjects. 

The word ‘science’ comes from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”.

The word ‘art’ comes from  Old French art, meaning “skill as a result of learning or practice”.

But mathematics converts the world of reality into a world of concepts and studies the laws of abstract concepts which governs the real world. So I believe that mathematics is lesser of a science and more of an art . For me mathematics is an abstract bridge between science and art.

Bertrand Russell said – “Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.”
As mathematics tells us nothing about the real world , but states that one thing follows from another in a certain way.

R. M. Bhagwat had written in his book “Everyday Mathematics” – “Mathematics can be said to be a mirror in which life is reflected. A mathematician facing a real problem can then, like Alice in Wonderland, wander in the mathematical image of life, allow his imagination to work, solve the mirror problem and then return back to real life with the real answer.

So, I have come to a conclusion that a mathematician is blessed to have relationships in both abstract and real world. In pure mathematics we spend more time in abstract world and in applied mathematics we spend more time in real world.

I believe my life as a mathematician would be “Experimenting – Conjecturing – Proving”.


You may think that I discuss more of philosophy than mathematics on my blog, but please be patient as a pure mathematics article is under development and will be published by end of this month. Till then I have these fillers!


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