What’s the point of Mathematics?

“What’s the point of mathematics….?” is a question I've been asked countless times, along with “when am I ever going to use this stuff?” There are so many answers I could give, but I'm not sure how convincing they are to the student struggling with calculus or conditional probability.   I try to point out that probably 90% of what you learn at school is not necessarily going to be “useful” in everyday life. When are you going to use the History, ...

TOK and mathematics: how not to be wrong?

"As it develops, mathematics moves both towards the abstractions of the mind, and also towards the connection with the world."  Thus begins the section on "Pure and Applied Mathematics" in the ToK Course Companion.  (p. 357).  The nature of the relationship between the abstract nature of mathematics and "the world" is one of several issues examined in a new book on mathematics by University of Wisconsin mathematician (and "maths journalist") Jordan Ellenberg.  In How Not to Be Wrong: The Power ...