Can You Understand Our World Without Mathematics?


Can You Understand Our World Without Mathematics?

I could grapple with this question, but I'll let physicist Richard Feynman of the Manhattan Project and Nobel Prize winner in Physics, take it on.

This video {watch it here} was graciously shared by Sir Harold Kroto, excerpted from the BBC when he did a presentation for them {credit: BBC Horizon and producer Chris Sykes.}

I encourage you to watch this brief video. I find Dr. Feynman's perspective particularly refreshing after viewing a polar opposite, dismissive view of science and mathematics from former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott described in my previous post!

Quoting Richard Feynman

If you are interested in the ultimate character of the physical world, or the complete world, and at the present time our only way to understand that is through a mathematical type of reasoning, then I don't think a person can fully appreciate, or in fact can appreciate much of, these particular aspects of the world, the great depth of character of the universality of the laws, the relationships of things, without an understanding of mathematics. I don't know any other way to do it, we don't know any other way to describe it accurately ... or to see the interrelationships without it. So I don't think a person who hasn't developed some mathematical sense is capable of fully appreciating this aspect of the world - don't misunderstand me, there are many, many aspects of the world that mathematics is unnecessary for, such as love, which are very delightful and wonderful to appreciate and to feel awed and mysterious about; and I don't mean to say that the only thing in the world is physics, but you were talking about physics and if that's what you're talking about, then to not know mathematics is a severe limitation in understanding the world.

FROM: "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out", by Richard P. Feynman, Helix Books, 1999, pg. 15.

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Even, what, 20 yrs after his death, Feynman continues to amaze, inform and guide us.
What a mind!
He was, and is amazing!

Thank goodness for folks like Richard Feynman.
I have a pretty tenuous understanding of our world even with mathematics...

By nice_marmot (not verified) on 04 Apr 2011 #permalink

Richard Feynman said it correctly .forty years of diagnosing complex problems in computers sure taught me that lesson

I think it is impossible to understand out world with out Math. How is it possible. Do you know?

By Character Education (not verified) on 05 Apr 2011 #permalink

i understood that the world without math is empty

By shabeeb maloof (not verified) on 21 Aug 2012 #permalink