Discovering My Love of Mathematics in High School

I don’t know exactly why I tread so carefully about talking about my love of mathematics. I think it comes down to three things:

  1. Math Anxiety
  2. My Trauma
  3. Intensity of Feelings

In High School, I was still very much in hiding from my own feelings. Even as I was pursuing mathematics. I was still interested in physics and in particular astronomy. My dream was to study astro-physics and work for JPL. The Mars Rover had just launched and had captured my imagination.

Then the Unexpected Happened

Andrew Wiles presented his proof on Fermat’s Last Theorem. Something thought so impossible the writers of Star Trek thought it would remain unsolved into the 24th century. I honestly didn’t know much about it other than the problem was infamous enough that a lay person may have encountered it. It had after all been mentioned on The Simpsons.

With Simon Singh

It is no surprise that there are some math enthusiasts among the staff.

The point here is that I was so invested in understanding this solution that I picked up a book that attempted to explain it. It was way beyond me but here is the interesting bit. I didn’t just pick up a book on Fermat’s Last Theorem. I also got a book on number theory.

An Introduction to Number Theory

This is the book that I got and I was lucky too.

This book was not written for experts but merely curious like me. Of all the fields, number theory captures my interest the most. This book delivers and would make an excellent gift for any math lover.

I am beginning to understand that there is much in mathematics that is a mystery to me. Even studying as an undergraduate, I feel so much escapes my grasp and I know that I lag behind other students. I feel quite ashamed when I talk to engineers, physicists, and mathematicians because I know that I can’t understand things at their level. That is when my impostor syndrome gets to me. Even though, I think most people would be delighted that I try.

Mystery Is It’s Own Reward

It is okay to like things you aren’t good at. We shouldn’t be experts in everything. Some things are hard to understand and that’s okay. In fact, it is that mystery that makes things so satisfying.

Eff anyone who looks down on me for my lack of knowledge. I will always defer to experts, but there is a reason why I write this blog. It is because I find that mathematics enriches my life like a piece of art. I want to spread that message to the masses.

I know that I’m not consistently writing here anymore. I’m dealing with a deep depression that prevents me from feeling motivated or even enjoying my work. I still want to try to write here once a week. So we will see how it goes for the rest of this year.

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