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  • Writer's pictureRebecca

More Than a Fraction of the World

"A mathematician does not study pure mathematics because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it and he delights in it because it is beautiful." (Henri Poincare) This sums up the essence of the study of math. It is mathematics that defines and explains all the order and beauty and symmetry of our world.

Math is found in all of science: chemistry, physics, biology, etc. I don't think there is any branch of science in which math is not part of the equation! But, really, is there any discipline of knowledge in which math is not a part and even foundational? Cooking, carpentry, architecture, medicine, sports, music, art, along with the sciences are all grounded in math. Even psychology and the social sciences use statistics and probabilities and behavioral patterns.

There are patterns galore within our complex and beautiful world. All those patterns, all the causes and effects set in motion can all be analyzed mathematically. Even those things that are considered random and have led to the development of "the chaos theory" can be explained through a series of highly complex mathematical calculations. In fact, the magnitude of patterns and mathematical implications within our world and universe is dizzyingly vast! Mathematics provides a glimpse into the infinite and divine, revealing the creative genius of God.

Fractals in cloud formations and fern leaves; spirals in shells and unfolding fern fronds, curves found in the undulating roll and swell of ocean waves, earthquakes, radio waves, and sound waves; symmetry of leaves and watery reflections; polygons and polyhedrons of all shapes and sizes from the most minute to the immeasurably expansive; geometric patterns of planetary motion spinning out beautiful, complex patterns like the spirographs that fascinate our children—all shout the praise of the great God of wonders. Other patterns, like triple junctions that abound in nature from corn cob kernels to bee honeycombs to turtle shells and fish fins; golden rectangles and golden ratios found abundantly in sea life, such as sand dollars and chambered nautilus; Fibonacci numbers in pinecones and pineapples, flower petals, and even piano keys: the world abounds with MATH!

Mathematics is being used to study the spread of forest fires and infectious diseases. And computers have opened whole new worlds of mathematical exploration in the realms of surgery, medical research, and development; architecture and design; space exploration and aeronautics; cinematography; and on and on the list could go. So let us be done with the common, small-minded idea that math is boring! Rather, let us use it to rouse our souls to a deeper dimension of worship.

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