This site is devoted to mathematics and its applications. Created and run by Peter Saveliev.

Mathematics Is A Science

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...because it studies the universe.

The idea that mathematics is a science is meant to be a counterpoint to this idea (usually spoken with googly eyes):

  • "Mathematics is art."
  • "Mathematics is an art."
  • "Mathematics is an art form.", and so on.

Just because there is something artistic about it doesn't mean it's art. If making chairs could be done artistically then so could science.

Is mathematics art or science? A case is made by Sophia Kovalevskaya who says that mathematics "is a science which requires a lot of imagination". She then quotes with approval "one of the leading mathematicians of our century" saying essentially that a mathematician is a poet inside (probably: "A mathematician who is not also something of a poet will never be a complete mathematician." -- Karl Weierstrass). She goes on however and calls for abandoning the outdated idea that poets make up things into existence. She says: "the poet has only to perceive that which others do not perceive, to look deeper than others look. And the mathematician must do the same thing." (Quoted in Math Equals: Biographies of Women Mathematicians by Teri Perl.)

  • "Mathematics is a language."

And so is any science and other fields of specialized knowledge.

  • "An exercise for the mind".

You can probably exercise your mind with something that you plan to use, especially in your profession. In fact, if you plan to become a lawyer, training in mathematics will be a handicap.

  • A pointless game with arbitrary rules (Sudoku etc.).
  • The school mathematics: a collection of mindless rules to be memorized and followed...

As a science, mathematics is looking for laws of nature (patterns)... but when it doesn't find any (for whatever reason), it moves on. That's the limit of how much mathematics can affect your every-day life.

"Mathematics is the queen of the sciences." -- Gauss