What is Mathematics to You?

I have been working in mathematics education for more than two decades now and I still just love to do mathematics. I love mathematics because it challenges me to apply logic, consider how ideas are applied in different contexts, and make connections between approaches different people take to problems.

I discovered a book called proofs without words that made me think in visual ways about mathematical ideas that I have thought about verbally and symbolically. It broadened my way of thinking. That is what mathematics is for me. It allows me think in ways I haven’t before, but in ways that have structure and predictability, and that is very fulfilling to me.

A well-known mathematician, Shakuntala Devi, also known as “the human computer,” was asked “What is mathematics?” and she replied “It is only a systematic effort of solving puzzles posed by nature.” I love this interpretation as well.

So what is mathematics to you? How do you think the educators with whom you work would answer? What is the definition that our students might give based on how we teach them mathematics? I would LOVE to hear a variety of interpretations from folks in our region. Tweet me at @ArringtonKatey.

As always, don’t forget to follow NCSM! We are @MathEdLeaders. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Please let me know if I can help you in any way as your NCSM Regional Director. You can reach me at . We want to hear from you about the work going on where you are or how we might be helpful to you!