Why I Love Math, Part 1: Because I Love Clever Movies

It’s no secret, I’m a mathy person. In fact, I just spent several hours of my free time this weekend trying to learn some new math, even though I didn’t need it for work.

Understandably, this seems ridiculous to a lot of folks. I probably get asked, “how can you enjoy this stuff?” more often than I get asked any other question about math or physics.

Well, one of the reasons I love math is that I love surprises, and math is full of them. Two mathematical concepts that initially look very different might turn out to be exactly the same. A problem that looks literally impossible might turn out to have a really easy solution, if you’re clever about it. Or a very simple idea might turn out to have much more important consequences than you’d ever have thought.

Whenever I find a situation like this in mathematics, I get a real thrill. But it’s not some esoteric, high-level pleasure reserved for academics. On the contrary, it’s the same sense of “Oh wow! Oh awesome!” that anyone can get from watching a good, clever movie.
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