Maths everywhere
Maths everywhere

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Maths everywhere

1.3 What is a mathematician?

In Section 1.2 you looked in detail at four pieces of very different mathematical writing:

  • an investigation of patterns within our system of numbers;

  • mathematical diagrams being used to convey statistical information about the real world;

  • a solution of a geometrical problem which arose from someone's curiosity;

  • use of algebraic symbols.

The aim was to broaden your experience of the sorts of situations where mathematics is used to help you develop your own understanding of what mathematics is. The examples were drawn from different areas of mathematics (arithmetic, statistics, geometry, algebra) and introduced ideas that will be developed further throughout the course.

Now you are asked to turn your attention to the question of what it means to be a mathematician. Recall the responses made to this question by the people you saw in the Whittington Hospital on the video clip. Does it simply mean someone who does mathematics? Or is it someone who uses it? Or is there more to it? How does a mathematician ‘see’ the world?


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