Matt Peperell's Blog

M is for 'Mathematics'

Written: 15 Apr 2024 (Index by date)

Tags: a-to-z  books  (Index by tag)

Today's letter is M and the associated word is Mathematics.

I've enjoyed numbers and maths for as long as I can remember. In school numbers and mathematics were taught to me as a natural pairing, perhaps close to synonymous. But as I've learned more not only has my interest grown but I also realised that that pairing is hugely reductionary.

One Christmas in the early 90s I received the book Chaos by (ISBN 9780749386061). The book has very little numerical data in it; rather it's a treatise about the research and development of mathematics in the mid 1900s of a branch of mathematics called Chaos theory. Very loosely speaking, it's about how tiny changes in a system can result in huge consequences. It's a very accessible read, even to non-mathematicians (though it would be less salient to those with zero interest in the field).

Way back in early 2009 I was trying to decide what to do for my 30th birthday. My working premise was along the lines of "How many 30th birthdays does one go to? And how many does one remember - perhaps one's own, and maybe one other. I want mine to be the one that people remember that wasn't their own!". The idea I settled on was to hire the Royal Insitution, and a guest speaker to talk about something sciency or technological. I reached out to several people and settled on one ("Myths in Hollywood Science") which was hugely entertaining. But as a result of having reached out to a handful of science communicators I stayed on their mailling lists. And it's through one such contact that I learned of the event MathsJam (which I mentioned a few days ago).

Though I enjoy games and socialising, maths is something I can do alone during those occasions in life when one doesn't want to be around people. Maths is very much an interest which has been with me for as long as I can remember.

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