I believe in the power of numbers and mathematics. Numbers are used to deceive people and to assist people. The ten digits that constitute the entire world’s numeral system are the alpha and the omega of the present day economy. Mathematics, unlike science, is not a fickle discipline where theories and laws can be changed. The unchanging manner of numbers and mathematics attracts me because of its stability.
Numbers put everything into perspective. Recently, my economics teacher used numbers to demonstrate how pure silicon wafers are. I don’t get a good comparison or an idea if he says “This is the purest substance known to mankind.” He tells us first that the wafers are 99.99999% pure, and then compares it to a string of green tennis balls connecting the Moon and Earth. Only four or five of these tennis balls are a different color other than green.
Numbers are used to emphasize facts. I did an essay on the state of education a couple years ago, and used numbers to my advantage. Numbers give authority to otherwise undeserving facts. For example, in that same essay, numbers helped me better than: the quality of the US education system is declining. Instead, I added some meat to the underfed statement: The SAT scores of students have fallen 7 percent since the 1950s.
Math has always been something that I am good at. It is dependable and never changes when my back is turned. There is a flow of logic that can’t be proven wrong. Mathematics itself never changes. Yes, there might be some additions to the area of mathematics, such as the new level named Calculus, but once mathematics is created, it is set in stone.
The versatility of mathematics stretches beyond the normal realm of addition and subtraction, of integrals and derivatives. It is the foundation of computers and computer languages. I wouldn’t be able to check my email or play video games without the computer solving complex algorithms that enable me to see the screen. I would be lost and afraid in high school without the familiarity of mathematics.
I believe in the power of numbers and mathematics. Numbers put perspective and emphasis into my life while mathematics is Yoda who guides me and the rock that I build my house on.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.