Parker Glynn-Adey

Quotes from “What if?” by Emily Clader

Posted in Math, Teaching and Learning by pgadey on 2019/05/23

I had to share these fantastic quotes from Emily Clader‘s piece “What If?: Mathematics, Creative Writing, and Play” in Journal of Humanistic Mathematics. The whole piece is great, and I encourage you to read it.

Mathematics … is a language, a set of structures through which ideas can be given both order and aesthetics. Like any language, it is capable of describing the world as one sees it, revealing patterns and properties that are often difficult to articulate without the right vocabulary. Yet also, like a language, mathematics can be used to explore the fantastic, the fictional, the conceivable but unreal. In providing an appropriate lexicon, mathematics gives form to our imagination of other worlds

Herein lies the true creative potential of mathematics. The precision of its language permits one to create a detailed imaginative picture of possible objects, possible structures, and possible worlds that do not, in practice,exist. Anything that can be conceived can be explored with as much rigor as the sensory world — indeed, even more so.

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