Why Do We Pay Pure Mathematicians?

This piece covers it up all…..the need to think, the need to keep on researching when we failed. Thank you for this beautiful post.

Math with Bad Drawings

Or, the Many Uses of Uselessness

One of the joys of being married to a pure mathematician—other than finding coffee-stained notebooks full of integrals lying around the flat—is hearing her try to explain her job to other people.

“Are there…uh… a lot of computers involved?”

“Do you write equations? I mean, you know, long ones?”

“Do you work with really big numbers?”

No, sometimes, and no. She rarely uses a computer, traffics more with inequalities than equations, and—like most researchers in her subfield—considers any number larger than 5 to be monstrously big.

Still, she doesn’t begrudge the questions. Pure math research is a weird job, and hard to explain. (The irreplaceable Jordy Greenblatt wrote a great piece poking fun at the many misconceptions.)

So, here’s this teacher’s feeble attempt to explain the profession, on behalf of all the pure mathematicians out there.

Q: So, what is pure math?

A: Picture…

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A little about me


Is it natural that all the people generally start with telling about themselves. Do others actually want to know about me, or anyone else for that matter? I don’t know; probably some psychology delicacy, whatever, I’m here to tell everyone about myself. A really deep question if you ask me. It’s not those company interviews where the HR asks to describe yourself in a certain way, it’s not those unknown friend of your dad asking about you. It’s you yourself trying to write something about you.

To think, most of us like ourselves too much. Descriptions become biased, even if it’s not do we know ourself? Do we know the little inner self that try to peek now and then and cause problems. I think, we do. Actually, much better than any outsider in my opinion. We may not be courageous enough to confront it, to express it, but I think we do understand at some point, at some deep level.

The first that thing that comes to the mind to think about myself is I’m fidgety and very much so. Even if I stay quiet…for a long time….my mind (actually my brain) can’t. Through protests and complains of many adults in my life about this problem(?), I sustained it, sometimes seem cherished it, probably because I never think of it as something to be perished? It caused me problems nevertheless. I like to debate and argue…..a lot and can go off to a tangent without any prompting. Though I’m not shy or introvert in any way, I usually runs away from a crowd, most of the time, having myself as a company is more than enough for me. I don’t know if it’s true or not but right now, trying to describe myself, I find it as my defining characteristic(?) [I sound like a lunatic too !!]

Anyway, they say (don’t ask me who!), the first step is the most important, tough etcetera etcetera. But that’s my Forte, to take first few steps everywhere, it’s the continuing that I need to learn….hopefully…..someday in future at least.