Why study mathematics?

http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/33727/why-why-why-why-why-why This was an answer to the question here but the guys closed it so I repost here.

Like life it is completely meaningless and has no purpose. You can invent your own purpose – that is the only way there will be one. Here are some options:

  • A lot of mathematics happens to be really useful. Some people are using certain ares of mathematics like geometry and calculus as one of their tools in understanding reality (for example physicists and biologists). I think that a lot of people who try to explain why mathematics is beautiful go on about how it is a useful tool but that seems distracting to me.
  • You can just learn about how beautiful prime numbers are. A prime number is a number that you can’t make a rectangle out of that many dots (e.g. you can make a 3×2 rectangle out of 6 dots but you cant make any rectangle out of 7 dots – only a line). So at first they seem awkward but try list them all and you notice they never end.. and you can get sucked into this theory and just admire the beauty of everything.
  • Games are fun and challenging, you can get better and better at beating puzzles and so on. Mathematics is a better source of puzzles than the newspapers. Think about Martin Gardner’s puzzle: How many cannon balls can you stack in a square pyramid but also lay out in a square? 1^2 + 2^2 + … + 24^2 = 70^2 is the only possible number. Why on earth would that be?

Anyway there’s no purpose to it so my advice is enjoy the actual process of doing it or do something else. If you have a particular interest like beauty or fun or whatever you might think of you can post more questions about those and I’m sure people will be able to give better examples than I did.

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