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Why is Maths Important?: How Learning Maths Influences our Lives

From Robin, published on 27/06/2017 We Love Prof - UK > Academia > Maths > The Importance of Mathematics in Society

Mathematics is more a part of our everyday lives than many would think, and allows us to better understand the world around us.

The use of numbers and figures can be found everywhere, from cooking to medicine, to the media with their percentages and graphs. Here we’ll shed light on a number of areas where maths is centre stage.

To learn maths is to open up a world of opportunity – You won’t see your maths lessons in the same way again!

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Professions Based on Mathematics

If you still doubt the ubiquitous and essential role of mathematics in the professional world (and thus in our daily lives), be prepared to have your perspective changed.

The right materials can make learning maths fun From kids maths to calculus, it’s time to take a new look at mathematics (Source: Wikipedia.org – Jengod)

This science, inherited from antiquity, constitutes a common foundation for many professions.

Whether one works in formulating medicines, meteorology, designing medical imaging devices, using statistics, managing personal data with cryptography, or in the more abstract world of pure maths, the same language is used.

Arithmetic, algebra, complex numbers and probability are all elements of the grand discipline that is mathematics; one that shapes our everyday lives.

For example, astronomers searching for life on other planets, statisticians studying population fluxes and accountants measuring trade balances of firms and countries: All share a common ground, studied during their mathematics education and honed with experience.

If this topic interests you, check out our article What to do after studying mathematics?

Mathematics and the Study of the World

From the study of our solar system to the reproductive cycle of animals and the growth of plants, mathematics is very useful in understanding the world around us.

And yes, maths can even be used to solve puzzles!

Teaching maths is teaching understanding about the world Maths tutoring can improve your knowledge of our solar system (Source: Pixabay.com – WikiImages)

Not all calculations are necessarily complicated: We can use complex functions or sequences as readily as simple methods, for example to mark and follow individuals in the study of populations and evolution.

Engineers test materials in order to design durable and safe structures, using calculations of the strength and density of materials.

In cartography, it’s necessary to accurately measure angles and draw distances that will allow locations to be precisely represented. Such knowledge is used not only by the surveyor, but also by the treasure hunter looking for sunken wrecks, using instruments derived from a compass.

The price of food is calculated in relation to production and estimated demand. The predicted course of a pandemic is determined by studying the pathogen’s rate of transmission. It’s even useful for doing homework or revising for a maths exam! The list of uses is endless.

If you want to progress in math, don’t delay in signing up for maths tuition.

In short, everything comes under the influence of maths, even the world of professional-level sport!

The golden ratio is to be found in the form of the pyramids Were the famous pyramids of Giza designed by a maths tutor? (Source: 500px.com – Shahir Morgan)

Even when it comes to the esoteric, maths has left its mark. Many mathematicians have sought hidden meaning in numbers, and predictive properties with numerology, not to mention the mysterious golden ratio found in nature as well as in extraordinary human constructions, like the pyramids.

There are also many maths equations that have changed the world!

Maths and Shopping

Percentages,  a basic mathematical concept, can be used to calculate reductions and work out whether an offer is worth taking advantage of. For example, 20% off one product and a further 10% off another are not the same as a 30% reduction:

You spot a fantastic cardigan at £69. You benefit from a 20% discount, or £13.80 saved, (£55.20) and a further discount of 10% off the price, which is now £49.68. In the end, you get a total discount of £19,32: Not 30% off the initial price (which would have saved you £20.70).

Similarly, it can be worth calculating the price per kilo in ‘buy one get one free’ offers, to see whether you can make a saving.

Be careful, however, if such a product is prominently displayed, it might be overpriced relative to similar items – Yes, promotions are mainly there to get you to spend!

Say you have a steady job, and you want to take out a mortgage and buy a house. Percentages are used to analyse your level of debt, calculate a depreciation schedule and show repayments due over the lifetime of the loan. Tip: If your bank’s rates are favourable, be sure to choose a fixed rate loan to avoid seeing monthly repayments move in the wrong direction over time.

Managing a budget is one of the inescapable responsibilities of any teenager or adult. By means of simple operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, you can understand your income and outgoings, and how much you have available to spend.

Planning on making a large purchase? The total cost over the long term can be calculated, taking into account probable income, thanks to maths.

Who ever said that maths was irrelevant in daily life?

And as an added bonus, maths is a great way to play the odds in poker and come out the winner!

Mathematics and Living Spaces

Let’s talk geometry!

Imagine that you plan to build your own house. You would first calculate volumes and dimensions, and gradually bring your designs to life as 2D plans.

After completing construction, you would need to furnish the space. Here is how to carry out your project using geometry:

Use geometry to plan the layout of your apartment Let maths help you design your ideal living space (Source: Pixabay.com – PIRO4D)

  • Take an A3 sheet of graph paper
  • Note the dimensions of the room to be furnished
  • Take sheets of coloured paper and cut out shapes to represent the sofa, the dining room table, and so on.
  • Play around with various configurations of furniture by moving the coloured boxes around, taking into account the passing spaces necessary to comfortably allow for movement

Sounds like maths games for kids? But what better way to learn maths!

Maths and Health

Human life in its earliest developmental stage can be seen in-utero using ultrasound: When the fœtus is only slightly bigger than a bean, it can be visualised, and its heartbeat heard. Mathematics then comes into play in a child’s health record, showing their estimated growth curve in relation to weight and height.

Had a bad fall? Medical imaging can be used to determine any fractures with an x-ray, developed using maths, or an MRI scan, which exists thanks to calculus.

X-rays are an example of maths applied to well-being Medical imaging relies on maths (Source: Flickr.com – Rahim Packir Saibo)

This practical application of maths is used in oncology, to understand cell mutation and develop curative treatments that help save many lives.

In an effort to combat illness and injury, statisticians analyse the results of studies carried out using volunteers, in order to identify models for advancing research on new drugs.

Looking to find out whether your body mass index (BMI) is within the normal range?

All you have to do is perform the following simple calculation: BMI = Weight(kg) / Height(m)^2. Results in the normal range should be between 18.5 and 25.

Human beings have, with access to a growing body of knowledge, wrought great changes in the natural world. We have created new diseases that we must now attempt to cure, and caused widespread pollution, which we must now seek solutions in order to fight.

Through these few examples, we can see the extent of mathematics in our daily life, on individual, societal, planetary and galactic scales.

Isn’t it fascinating, to see how the infinitely small can help us understand the infinitely great?

Don’t wait any longer, get stuck into maths right now!

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