What is Math?

May not music be described as the mathematics of the sense, mathematics as music of the reason? The musician feels mathematics, the mathematician thinks music: music the dream, mathematics the working life.

— James Sylvester

Most of us have a skewed relationship with math: we hate it for its drudgery or love it for its consistency, but usually we don’t have a sense of the whole picture. In truth, mathematics is an art. It’s easy to lose sight of the elegance in the midst of technical details, especially when aesthetics, motivation, and simplicity–the core values of mathematics–are absent from typical math courses.

At Math for Love, we teach mathematics in its whole context. Mathematics begins by playing… with games, puzzles, patterns, shapes, numbers, structures, rules, and ideas. From there, you observe and ask questions. Owning your question leads to the rest: refinement, searching for solutions, discovering the connections that allow you to not just solve but understand your problem, and finally, rigorous writing and presentation of your solution.

What math feels like

Here are three blog posts that I hope give some idea of what it feels like to do mathematics:

Post 1  The satisfaction and excitement are so palpable.

Post 2  No tricks. No formulas. You’re just a human being, looking at one of the simplest and most fundamental shapes there is, just like your ancestors once did before anyone had any idea about formulas. What do you do?

Post 3  We spent the next twenty minutes recollecting the argument and writing it down. It was an amazing accomplishment for a second grader.