by Avinaba Majumdar
Playing in the parks of the complex mathematical space, sliding down the elliptic curves, and bamming into the black hole to become a human spaghetti—I have experienced it all at the MIT HSSP! And because great experiences are worth the share, I am here to do the same.
Hello everyone! How many of you readers do hate mathematics because it is way too tricky, and you do not understand a single bit of it? Further, you feel that it has no utility in real life? I am sure there are plenty of hands lifting (virtually!). Well, if you have a similar ideology like this, get ready to boggle up your mind, because this article is going to change your mindset about how you perceive mathematics.
Mathematics is the language of this eternal Cosmos—not using mathematics to understand the Cosmos is pretty analogical to saying not using a language to speak. And so, mathematics is the most fundamental of all laws governing this mystifying Cosmos. It is full of imagery, be it the graphs of functions or the algebraic structures of equations. Solving maths always feels like following the rhythm in a piece of music—the riffs and runs, vocal breaks, whistle notes—all of that is so mathematically patterned, and a break in this pattern gets you stuck with the problem forever.
If I ask you a straightforward question, what is 1+1? It is 2. Right? Yes, indeed. But you must be wondering as to why I am asking such a simple question. Well, there is a lot more meaning hidden behind this mathematical equation. I may ask you, what is “addition” or what an “equals to” sign means? Or, in the worst case, what is 1 and 2 at the fundamental level? How do we even define them? I’m sure you have started to rethink now that the question is not as simple as it seems. And indeed, you are correct. Mathematics requires a much deeper sense of understanding.
What if I told you that the music that you love to hear is nothing but mathematics? The Major and the Minor Pentatonic Scales, the dominant and the suspended chords, or the concept of half steps and whole steps are all in-depth concepts of mathematics. Isn’t that surprising? Also, you must have heard about the famous Fibonacci Series. Right? The series that goes like 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, …, and so on? Yes. And believe me or not, this series has its fundamental existence in many pieces of music. And not just music, the patterns in flowers, or the structures of a shell, all of them are accordant with the Fibonacci Series.
Moreover, the vibrations of different frequencies can lead to some beautiful curves in mathematics, renowned by the name—the Lissajous curves. These curves look so artistic and symmetric that sometimes it makes me realize how great of an artist nature is. Mathematics is artistic and beautiful. Be it the topics in complicated theories of Topology and Fractal Calculus, or multidimensional theories like the String and the M-Theory, mathematics proves out to be artistic everywhere. And even the vibrations of strings, as is indicated by the String Theory, which creates various frequencies, adds evidence to the fact that mathematics is musical too. Whatever you see, feel, touch, or even you, everything is a mathematical structure. Surprisingly, what is beyond the level of your understanding as of now is nothing but proven facts in mathematics. So, I insist all readers to start introspecting on the branch of mathematics to delve more in-depth and explore the mysteries of this vast Cosmos because even mathematics has physical meaning. Good luck with your journey!
Though the MIT HSSP was a challenging journey, yet it was an incredible one. I, hence, extend heartfelt thanks to all the teachers and my fellow virtual-mates for guiding and accompanying me through this unforgettable experience. It is sad as to how quickly the six weeks passed by, but the invaluable knowledge that I have received shall stay along with me for the lifetime.
One thought on “A Slide Along the MIT HSSP!”
Awesome !! So well written !! I was so amused to read this. Mathematics is not something that I love much. But your amazingly written article makes one want to really enjoy it. Love it. Excellent piece !! Keep writing. The word flow is superb.