Interview with Life Through a Mathematician’s Eyes

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Susan Silver

I’m the writer with a mathematical muse. I love words, numbers, dreaming big & helping others. I believe that whatever you imagine, you can become. They/Them.

email: Susan@beautyofmathematics.com

One of my favorite blogs to read is Life Though a Mathematician’s Eyes. I was fortunate when the author decided to do a collab with me! I am so honored! Below is my interview with the author.

Bio: I am a professional mathematical concept disrupter who believes that the study of mathematics is like air or water to our technological society. Born in a society where mathematics was something scary for every pupil or student, I have always wanted to prove how important mathematics is to our society.

When did you know that you loved mathematics? What was the aha moment.

I don’t think I had an “aha” moment. It has been a steady falling in love journey. I have always been a little good at it, but it took me quite some time to realise that I am loving it.

In my first years of school, mathematics was considered one of the most important subjects. It was the way to show how “smart” you were. Everyone from pupils to adults (including teachers) had this idea that if someone where good at mathematics, then automatically they were incredibly smart. I never actually had many friends and I just wanted to be considered good at something. This is why I just gave mathematics a little more study time compared to the other subjects. Things changed a little in my high-school. I had quite a bad math teacher – totally could not understand him and his methods. The good part was that by this time, mathematics was the only thing that helped me deal with most of the bad things happening around me. At this point in my life, mathematics was my escape mechanism from reality. I could do questions over questions without thinking about something else. It was incredibly relaxing and refreshing to discover new things and also practice the old material.

How did your blog/FB page grow? How did you get your first readers.

I think the most franc answer is: naturaly. I never cared about how many people liked what I am sharing. I just had this urge to share my love for mathematics. I wanted to share the things I have found interesting and that is all. One day in my second year of university I thought I will just create a blog about mathematics. I have seen other people write about different things and I thought I will just give it a go. I was totally terified because I never thought anyone would actually read it. Then I started the Facebook page and I continued sharing only things that I find interesting, funny or cute. For a couple of years I haven’t said anything about it to anyone, but after around 2 years it has become a part of life – it was the one of my hobbies. I am still a little scared sometimes to speak about it with other people, but I know I should do it more often.

What advice do you have for other people who want to write about mathematics and the sciences?

Write about what you love. That is the most important part. After I got 1000 likes on Facebook, I started receiving hate comments and messages. I still get them every week, but it never troubles me because I am writing and sharing things I REALY LOVE and I feel incredibly interested in. I would never share something just because everyone else does, or because I think it will give me more likes. Do whatever you love!!

Did you have any mentors or teachers who encouraged your interest in mathematics?

During secondary school I had a teacher that was quite funny and liked to give me more complex questions, but that was it. My parents encourage me to do things I like, but no one encouraged me pursue mathematics. I do remember people saying that I shouldn’t become a teacher or study mathematics because it was not good enough for me. So, I don’t think I can say I actually had a mentor.

Have you experienced any push back as a woman interested in mathematics?

YES!! I had and I still have some problems with this. In school I had so many people telling me that I should not be interested in mathematics at all. I should focus on becoming a doctor and forget about mathematics. People around me thought that mathematics could not offer any prosperous future. At university, I had a couple of colleagues that considered women should not do mathematics and they refused to speak with me at all. When I started my blog and Facebook page, I refused to share the fact that I was a girl – I was scared people will make fun of me. After a couple of years, even now I get quite some bad comments on social media related to the fact that I am a woman and share things about women mathematicians.

Do you have a favorite mathematician? If so, what do you like about them.

I cannot say that I have a favourite mathematicians – I still need to read a lot of biographies and understand how people are thinking and how they get all the inspiration. The mathematicians I like more are the ones I have heard a lot at university and I studied their work. Therefor, if a theorem blow my mind and it was followed by an incredible proof then I would think the person that thought about it is a genius and he/she would go up on my list of awesome mathematicians I need to find out more about. From this point of view here are some mathematicians that have surprised me: Paul Erdos – for the amount of work and devotion; Emmy Noether – for her work in Abstract Algebra (one of my favourite subjects at university) and Georg Cantor – for all the days and weeks I had to study his theorems abour cardinality (I still think this is a mind blowing, but incredibly awesome topic).

Do you have specific interest in mathematics? A field of math that your like more than others?

At the moment, I have a couple of fields that I like: Abstract Algebra, Number Theory and Set Theory. I am totally missing on the work I was doing at university and I am thinking about doing more individual studying in the next couple of months.

The best way to support Life Through a Mathematician’s Eyes is to read!

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In this interview we talk with the author of Life Through a Mathematician’s Eyes.