Monday, November 21, 2005

decimals have their points...

I've heard so many people tell me lately that math has no real purpose.
"What's the point? No one's going to come up to you and ask, 'Quickly, quickly, write out a proof of Lagrange's Theorem in group theory!' as you walk down the street."
And I used to agree with them.

"This is TopHat."
"I'm a math major, too," I injected explaining how I knew Keith. Sitting on a rugged orange chair which reminded me of the chair in Mr. Magnini's office in high school, I was visiting Keith in his apartment when his roommate Monty came in.
"Math major? Really? I have a question for you."
I looked over at Keith. His eyes were saying "Oh great. Not this."
Monty didn't see the look, "Which is larger as you go to infinity, the whole numbers or the positive even numbers?"
Beautiful. This was one of those moments that I was glad I was asked a simple question, and that I had learned a little bit of set theory last year.
"They are the same size, or have the same order, because you can find a 1 to 1 function from the whole numbers to the even positives."
Smiling wide, I look over at Keith, proud. Take that Keith. I'm a hot commodity. I can answer math questions on the spot and I made you cookies today (that was the reason I was there).
Monty looks at me and he looks at me and his face is full of disbelief.
Keith chuckled (I haven't known anyone to chuckle until I met Keith), "I've been telling him that all year; he just doesn't get it."

So there. Yes. People WILL come up to you and ask you math questions on the street.
Be prepared. No calculators. And you can't use your neighbor.
Don't I hear any of you telling me that math is useless in my everday life.

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