Like a Shakespearean sonnet that captures the very essence of love, or a painting that brings out the beauty of the human form that is far more than just skin deep, Euler's Equation reaches down into the very depths of existence. Keith Devlin

Like a Shakespearean sonnet that captures the very essence of love, or a painting that brings out the beauty of the human form that is far more than just skin deep, Euler's Equation reaches down into the very depths of existence.

Just as music comes alive in the performance of it, the same is true of mathematics. The symbols on the page have no more to do with mathematics than the notes on a page of music. They simply represent the experience. Keith Devlin

Just as music comes alive in the performance of it, the same is true of mathematics. The symbols on the page have no more to do with mathematics than the notes on a page of music. They simply represent the experience.

Calculus works by making visible the infinitesimally small. Keith Devlin

Calculus works by making visible the infinitesimally small.

Mathematical thinking is not the same as doing mathematics - at least not as mathematics is typically presented in our school system. School math typically focuses on learning procedures to solve highly stereotyped problems. Professional mathematicians think a certain way to solve real problems, problems that can arise from the everyday world, or from science, or from within mathematics itself. The key to success in school math is to learn to think inside-the-box. In contrast, a key feature of mathematical thinking is thinking outside-the-box - a valuable ability in today's world. Keith Devlin

Mathematical thinking is not the same as doing mathematics - at least not as mathematics is typically presented in our school system. School math typically focuses on learning procedures to solve highly stereotyped problems. Professional mathematicians think a certain way to solve real problems, problems that can arise from the everyday world, or from science, or from within mathematics itself. The key to success in school math is to learn to think inside-the-box. In contrast, a key feature of mathematical thinking is thinking outside-the-box - a valuable ability in today's world.

I certainly do care about measuring educational results. But what is an 'educational result?' The twinkling eyes of my students, together with their heartfelt and beautifully expressed mathematical arguments are all the results I need. Keith Devlin

I certainly do care about measuring educational results. But what is an 'educational result?' The twinkling eyes of my students, together with their heartfelt and beautifully expressed mathematical arguments are all the results I need.

In fact, the answer to the question "What is mathematics?" has changed several times during the course of history... It was only in the last twenty years or so that a definition of mathematics emerged on which most mathematicians agree: mathematics is the science of patterns. Keith Devlin

In fact, the answer to the question "What is mathematics?" has changed several times during the course of history... It was only in the last twenty years or so that a definition of mathematics emerged on which most mathematicians agree: mathematics is the science of patterns.

A PhD in Mathematics is three years of guessing it wrong, plus one week of getting it right and writing a dissertation. Keith Devlin

A PhD in Mathematics is three years of guessing it wrong, plus one week of getting it right and writing a dissertation.

Indeed, nowadays no electrical engineer could get along without complex numbers, and neither could anyone working in aerodynamics or fluid dynamics. Keith Devlin

Indeed, nowadays no electrical engineer could get along without complex numbers, and neither could anyone working in aerodynamics or fluid dynamics.

Though the structures and patterns of mathematics reflect the structure of, and resonate in, the human mind every bit as much as do the structures and patterns of music, human beings have developed no mathematical equivalent to a pair of ears. Mathematics can only be "seen" with the "eyes of the mind". It is as if we had no sense of hearing, so that only someone able to sight read music would be able to appreciate its patterns and harmonies. Keith Devlin

Though the structures and patterns of mathematics reflect the structure of, and resonate in, the human mind every bit as much as do the structures and patterns of music, human beings have developed no mathematical equivalent to a pair of ears. Mathematics can only be "seen" with the "eyes of the mind". It is as if we had no sense of hearing, so that only someone able to sight read music would be able to appreciate its patterns and harmonies.

I firmly believe that mathematics does not exist outside of humans. It is something we, as a species, invent. Keith Devlin

I firmly believe that mathematics does not exist outside of humans. It is something we, as a species, invent.

We mathematicians are used to the fact that our subject is widely misunderstood, perhaps more than any other subject (except perhaps linguistics). Keith Devlin

We mathematicians are used to the fact that our subject is widely misunderstood, perhaps more than any other subject (except perhaps linguistics).

The human brain finds it extremely hard to cope with a new level of abstraction. This is why it was well into the eighteenth century before mathematicians felt comfortable dealing with zero and with negative numbers, and why even today many people cannot accept the square root of minus-one as a genuine number. Keith Devlin

The human brain finds it extremely hard to cope with a new level of abstraction. This is why it was well into the eighteenth century before mathematicians felt comfortable dealing with zero and with negative numbers, and why even today many people cannot accept the square root of minus-one as a genuine number.

For all the time schools devote to the teaching of mathematics, very little (if any) is spent trying to convey just what the subject is about. Instead, the focus is on learning and applying various procedures to solve math problems. That's a bit like explaining soccer by saying it is executing a series of maneuvers to get the ball into the goal. Both accurately describe various key features, but they miss the what and the why of the big picture. Keith Devlin

For all the time schools devote to the teaching of mathematics, very little (if any) is spent trying to convey just what the subject is about. Instead, the focus is on learning and applying various procedures to solve math problems. That's a bit like explaining soccer by saying it is executing a series of maneuvers to get the ball into the goal. Both accurately describe various key features, but they miss the what and the why of the big picture.

In addition to its use in arithmetic and science, the Hindu-Arabic number system is the only genuinely universal language on Earth, apart perhaps for the Windows operating system, which has achieved the near universal adoption of a conceptually and technologically poor product by the sheer force of market dominance. Keith Devlin

In addition to its use in arithmetic and science, the Hindu-Arabic number system is the only genuinely universal language on Earth, apart perhaps for the Windows operating system, which has achieved the near universal adoption of a conceptually and technologically poor product by the sheer force of market dominance.

The whole apparatus of the calculus takes on an entirely different form when developed for the complex numbers. Keith Devlin

The whole apparatus of the calculus takes on an entirely different form when developed for the complex numbers.

Born: March 16, 1947

Profession: Mathematician

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