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What is Mathematics According to Keith Devlin

上午读了Keith Devlin教授的课程背景材料,有点感触,摘抄了几段对我很有启发的文字,以备日后参考。

In Keith Devlin’s book ‘Introduction to Mathematical Thinking’, he writes,

“Virtually nothing (with just two further advances, both from the 17th century: calculus and probability theory) from the last three hundred years has found its way into the classroom. Yet most of the mathematics used in today’s world was developed in the last two hundred years! As a result, anyone whose view of mathematics is confined to what is typically taught in schools is unlikely to appreciate that research in mathematics is a thriving, worldwide activity, or to accept that mathematics permeates, often to a considerable extent, most walks of present-day life and society.”


“…mathematical notation no more is mathematics than musical notation is music. … In 1623, Galileo wrote, ‘The great book of nature can be read only by those who know the language in which it was written. And this language is mathematics.’…”


“As one of the greatest creations of human civilization, mathematics should be taught alongside science, literature, history, and art in order to pass along the jewels of our culture from one generation to the next. We humans are far more than the jobs we do and the careers we pursue.”


“…those skills (use mathematics as a tool) fall into two categories. … The second category comprises people who can take a new problem, say in manufacturing, identify and describe key features of the problem mathematically, and use that mathematical description to analyze the problem in a precise fashion. … I propose to give them one (name): innovative mathematical thinkers.”