I was having a discussion with my father about the budgetpocalypse for universities. I don’t know how it came up, but he asked: “What college is the department of Math in?” At Southeastern Louisiana University, the Department of Math is in the College of Science and Technology.
Here is a paraphrase of our conversation.
Me: That is odd. Math isn’t a science, and it isn’t really a technology. Well, I guess you could argue it is a technology.
Father: What? Math is a science. It is a pure science.
Me: I don’t think it is a science. Science is all about models and seeing how they agree with real life. Math doesn’t HAVE TO deal with real life. Math is more like a philosophy. Not that I don’t like math, I love math.
Father: Well, either way, you have to have math to do science. Math is the language of science.
Me: Isn’t language the language of science? Can’t you do some science without math? What about the theory of evolution? Do you need math for that?
In the end, we didn’t really come to an agreement but it did make me think about things in a different way. Let me restate my ideas about science in the simplest way possible.
What is Science?
Science is about making models and comparing them with real life. A model could be a mathematical relationship, a conceptual idea, a physical thing (like a globe), a computer program, or even just a diagram.