Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Importance of Mathematics

I remember reading many years ago the beautiful book by G.H. Hardy: A Mathematician's Apology. Professor Hardy was proud that his work on number theory was useless outside of mathematics. At the same time I was reading Norbert Weiner's book: Cybernetics. I felt a great difference in attitude towards mathematics by both authors.

There is more to write about these men, and mathematics, here I just write a comment on a paper by Ramanujan I found today (see below).

I do invite my readers; those considering a career in mathematics, to reflect on the uses of this discipline. The financial industry, has used mathematical results to accumulate wealth on few individuals, who are acting against the development of mathematics, and knowledge in general, to protect their profits. This reflection can be informed by the recent book of Thomas Piketty: Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

There was no way Ramanujan could've known that the National Security Agency would pay in the 21st Century to uncover the secrets he left us. Nonetheless he knew the importance of the truths he was able to reveal.

Without mathematics our future will be less conscious.

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