Maths is often considered synonymous with pain, boredom and frustration. It’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “ugh, it’s like doing maths.” But maths is beautiful in theory, miraculous when applied, and awe-inspiring at every turn.
Even if a person is entirely allergic to the idea of digging into the nitty-gritty of crunching numbers, it doesn’t mean they can’t appreciate the diversity and implications of maths. While an artistic temperament is often considered the exact opposite of the kind of personality that loves complicated equations, pure mathematicians are really just a bunch of lunatics endlessly working with abstraction and beauty. And folks who work in fields of applied mathematics often end up finding a use for those abstract ideas.
One might not have the background to experience wonder from a particular equation, but virtually anyone can appreciate the astonishing human progression from basic counting to creating full-on artificial intelligence that could outpace our own mental faculties.
Understanding that non-linear advance is where a new video by the engaging and inventive physicist Dominic Walliman comes in. With just a bit of dry humour, he takes viewers through the major fields of math starting at the beginning and shows us how they inform and relate to each other. A few interesting details jump out, including Walliman’s insight that to properly connect the various sub-disciplines of math would require more than a 2D map—it’d require a 3D web. And in reality, the study of maths’ foundations has yet to discover a complete and consistent set of axioms.
Why? It’s an incredible mystery.