Thursday, March 26, 2009

Paint by Numbers

I was helping a friend with Calculus homework the other day, and she said something that I thought was really neat; it explains perfectly why I love math.  μ has a degree in art is is going back to school to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics).  The conversation went like this:

μ: "To me, math is is this horribly grueling painful thing, but once in a while I will finally understand some part of it well enough that I can just see what is supposed to happen.  Then it's like painting."

Me: "To me it's always like painting."

μ: "I know."


  1. I am, as of lately, a math major myself. (I'm a college senior - part time - but finally gave up and changed my major over to math.) I've found myself more and more drawn to math over the years. The observation I usually make is that, in math, at any given moment I feel like either a complete moron or a brilliant genius. And those "brilliant genius" moments more than make up for the moron moments.

    As I progress, I find that the moron moments are diminishing in either frequency or severity. I know I'll feel good later and so I don't feel bad in the moment.

    I love math because it makes me smarter, not by learning math, but my learning math.

  2. Yeah, until last year I was (perhaps somewhat ironically) a women's studies major, which is why the whole "kink and feminism" thing gets me so riled up. But I feel in love with doing math when I went back to it after several years, and I just became completely addicted. Plus I'm really pretty good at it most of the time, and here's something very satisfying about doing well in a subject that's so concrete. I know that success isn't just based on opinion or anything, in math you either figure out how to get the right answer or you don't. I find that really refreshing.