It is often heard that mathematics is a very difficult subject for most of the pupils or students for ‘not understanding’ a particular lesson discussed by the teacher and making their student’s life miserable. This has been going on for several generations and it is not subject to the current generation alone. The struggle between teachers and students is unlikely to end anytime soon. Students are often stereotyped mathematics, who gives already their judgment without putting in an extra effort and their openness to learning.
On the other hand, teachers are always finding an alternative way to hook up the attention of his/her student and instill in their minds that mathematics is a fun subject. However, did we distinguish that mathematics is beyond school? Did we recognize the importance and the true essence of mathematics in our everyday life? Did we realize that it has numerous applications in the world and our own life too?
‘Mathematics is the key to opportunity.
No longer just the language of science, mathematics now contributes to direct and fundamental ways to business, finance, health, and defense. For students, it opens doors for careers. For citizens, it enables informed decisions. For nations, it provides knowledge to compete in a technological community. To participate fully in the world of the future, we must tap the power of mathematics.’ (NRC, 1989)
The above statement remains true until today, although it was written several years ago. Mathematics can be seen everywhere in day-to-day life, in a variety of scenarios.
Mathematics is all around us, in everything we do. It is the building block of everything in our daily lives. From the time we woke up, we immediately see the clock in our cellphones if what’s the time and calculating it how many hours or minutes you have to prepare for school or work. The next thing is when you cook in the morning for your breakfast, you measure the amount of rice and see to it that it is proportional to the amount of water you put to achieve a better taste of it. Also, for your viand, you’re frying an egg so you should have that estimation of how much amount of oil you’ll pour into the pan so that it will not get oily nor too dry. Of course, as a student, when we ask for our allowance to our parents, we are making sure that it is enough for the whole duration of our classes that we have money to buy for our snacks, lunch, and we can go home at the end of the day. In riding a jeepney or a tricycle, you count your payment if you give the exact amount and compute for your change if you received also the correct amount you should have. Also, if we are going to pay for our electric and water bills we do the same thing. When we buy groceries, since there’s just an allotted budget, we should bear in mind that we should only buy things and foods accordingly. Buy smart!
In businesses, quick math is essential. Thus, the art of estimating must be learned by every one of how companies or even just small store owner price their goods to ensure that they can earn a profit. In business as well, decisions are driven by data, and in terms of analyzing and interpreting these data, math, and statistics are used.
It’s not only in businesses but also economists and insurance or realty agents who use mathematics to make sure that everything is financially viable.
Aside from math in money, it is also associated with the natural sciences and engineering disciplines as well as in the social sciences. Mathematical can be used to help us understand or predict natural phenomena such as typhoons and earthquakes.
Physicists and engineers also use math for the estimation and to make sure that buildings are strongly built or stable and if satellites are working. Software developers use elements of math for their codes. Even graphic designers use math for their ratio and proportion to design their graphics or websites. Their image-editing software was made as well with the help of mathematics. Everything on computers that we enjoy today is from mathematics. No doubt that the father of Computer Science was a mathematician and he is Alan Turing.
Even in the online field, since most of us are fond of using the internet like Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, and much more math had found applications in cryptography, which is used in encrypting and keeping data safe online.
Likewise, mathematics also travels in the medical field. Both doctors and nurses use math every day while providing health care for people around the world. Doctors and nurses use math when they write prescriptions or administer medication. Medical professionals use math when drawing up statistical graphs of epidemics or success rates of treatments. Just like here in Capiz, dengue is very rampant. According to the Provincial Health Unit, from January 1 to June 29, they’ve recorded a total of 2,177 dengue cases with 14 deaths and it is 771 percent higher compared to last year, with only 250 cases. Math applies to x-rays, CT scans, and different laboratory tests. Numbers provide an abundance of information for medical professionals. It is reassuring for the general public to know that doctors and nurses have been properly trained by studying mathematics and its uses for medicine.
Mathematics is indeed indispensable, with numerous applications ranging from economics, sciences, businesses, engineering, even arts. The better question is, in what field doesn’t use math? Some suggested ‘religious life’, well, even priests and nuns must organize outreach programs and budget for their parishes. It still involves Math.
I’d like to end this by quoting from a comic strip I saw while browsing on the internet doing this synthesis. It says:
‘Sociology is just applied to Psychology.
Psychology is just applied to Biology.
Biology is just applied to Chemistry.
Which is applied Physics. …’
Which is Applied Mathematics?
Everything in the universe is made of mathematics.