Revision 1: Why I love Mathematics?


Unlike Mathematics itself, which is forever, philosophy of mathematics keeps on changing. Philosophy of mathematics includes basic definitions and ideologies. About one and a half years ago I wrote about “Why I love Mathematics?” and in these one and a half years my ideologies changed.

Now, for me love means

a feeling of awesomeness for something/ someone.

I believe that this definition captures the general idea. Now let me update the answer to the question.

Mathematics is not a human being, so it can’t accept or reject me. I like logical, concrete and unambiguous statements which are provided by mathematics. Hence I study it.

Unfortunately, contrary to what I believed earlier, mathematics doesn’t have its own language.

The language of mathematics is the language being spoken by the citizens of the “world center(s) of mathematics” of that time.

Let me illustrate my point:

  • The ancient mathematics was communicated in Greek, Arabic and Sanskrit (symbolic languages of Babylonians and Mayans are yet to be fully deciphered).
  • The medieval mathematics (14th century to 18th Century) was communicated in Italic languages like Latin, Italian, French etc. A good supporter of this argument is the fact that Carl Friedrich Gauss being German wrote his most celebrated book, Disquisitiones Arithmeticae, in Latin.
  • The before-my-birth mathematics (18th Century to 20th Century) was communicated in Germanic languages like English and German, since then Cambridge (UK) and Göttingen were the “world centers of mathematics”. A good supporter of this argument is the fact that Paul Erdős being Hungarian wrote his first paper in German (though, he and his friends also published in Hungarian). Interestingly, Russian was the language of many beautiful olympiad problem books until disintegration of USSR.
  • The after-my-birth mathematics (21st Century onwards) is communicated in English (Germanic Language) and French (Italic Language) since today’s world centers of mathematics are USA and France. German lost its position as scientific language because of Adolf Hitler‘s dictatorship.

I am not claiming that today mathematics doesn’t exist in any languages other than English or French, but these are the languages in which we today consider publishing our work.  For example, there are more than 550 million people speaking Spanish so it is obvious that their mathematics textbooks are written in their languages (some spanish books). Even in  India, though we have more than 260 million people speaking Hindi and high school mathematics textbooks in Hindi (see: KhanAcademy in Hindi), but still at college level English is only official mode of instruction so that the students have access to the latest discoveries.


5 responses »

  1. Pingback: Why I want to be a Mathematician? | Gaurish4Math

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