math – update

blogging & searching for true math …

The Author


Ever since I was a child and I was asked about which one was my favorite school subject – and I replayed “math” – I felt quite uncomfortable with everybody’s reaction to my answer. The surprise, the astonishment they showed, or even the ugly faces they made and the words they said: … “How can you like math!. … it is so difficult!, … boring!”…

Fortunately, the people who acted that way were not too important for me. My parents, on the other hand, adopted a clever attitude. My mom always said she liked math at school. My father never talked much about when he had troubles with math at college. But, I felt they were – almost secretly – admired with this predilection of mine. There was something intriguing about math… math was special…
When I was about 7 years old, I used to calculate easy proportions and percentages in a little notepad, and was so amused and amazed watching the results! Once – just thinking about numbers – I discovered the so called “ideal structure” in even integers. That so very little piece of math I found was so pleasant that I never forgot about it!
Unfortunately, I only had good math teachers until 7th grade and I almost don’t survive the rest. But my ❤ for math survived! And, when I finished high school and had to decide a career, I realized that the only thing I wanted to spend time with was math – pure math – even though the future with a math degree seemed completely unknown to me.
At university, I was at first overwhelmed, but the amazing math I finally was getting to know, fascinated me. Soon I was among the good ones. I remember, I never felt treated differently because of being a girl. But certainly, a bit more support – or less underestimate – would have truly helped us all…
I also realized that studying math was not really making me more popular. Once, I deliberately kidded someone for a while, saying I was studying “arts” (both faculties where side by side 😉 …). I will never ever forget the admiration and sweet smiling face of that person… That was exactly what I wanted to experience by saying “I study math!”…
So, I could never resign to the state of affairs of mathematics being misunderstood, feared, or even hated!…
I believe, nobody should…
Sure, not everyone should learn higher mathematics, but every educated person can and must understand what math actually is and does. Otherwise, it is like you’re living in a kind of holographic world, in which you don’t see your own reality.
In the meantime, I became a professional mathematician. I enjoyed the academic life at a traditional university, doing research, attending conferences, and trying to give my best to my engineering students. Yet, soon I realized we were doing things all so wrong. Our programs – just like our schools curricula – urgently needed an update to get our students engaged & motivated with true math again. The gap between the students world and our retrograde methods of teaching out-of-context-math became an unbridgeable educational abyss. Since I was not able to change the system from the inside, when I had the chance, I quited my associate-professor position and started trying to do something outside of it.
I started searching for some answers and – at long last – searching for…
True Math!
Since then, I have found answers to many unspoken questions from my own student times, and I have had many interesting experiences. I also could say, I may have half forgotten one theorem or 2 😉, but I certainly know much more math now…
And I would like to share this…
And that’s what I’ve been doing: The Math – Update Project – which is now part of my life’s project – began as a website presented at the International Conference of Mathematicians ICM 2010 in India.
Now it has become the science facebook page Math – Update – which leit-motiv is “Updating Math in our Mind & “.
This has been an incredible experience, reaching many thousands of people daily, getting in touch with other great math pages, and feeling we all try to do our bits… Amazing!
Now this blog is the place where I´ll try to keep in order all this amazing math!…
And I sincerely hope that You – just like me – find here what you are looking for in math… Amusement!!… Beauty!!… Common Sense!!…
Math – Update

 

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