Mathematical Moment #1

I am adding a new category to this blog because I’d like to document some of the experiences that I have had over the years that drew me to mathematics.  (Aside: I wonder if I have too many categories as it is.  I seem to have abandoned some previous ideas.  Maybe this summer will give me a chance to get back to them.)

Mathematical moments are those special moments that involve a specific application or perhaps just a specific individual that helped mathematics come alive for me.  Obviously, I have a deep love for the subject matter.  I have found a place where I “fit”, a career in which I can experience a true sense of discovery and excitement.  That connection I feel towards my chosen field has developed over time.  I often point to the fact that my first year in college was spent as a Religion Major.  I had abandoned my first love (with respect to my education).  Something was missing that year and fortunately I found what it was.  Is this over the top?  I don’t think so as long as everyone understands that I speaking within the arena of my education and my career, neither of which compare to my faith or my family. Anyways, I added the math major and the rest, as they say, is history.

My earliest mathematical moment:

I’ll start with the earliest mathematical memory of significance. I am sure there were even earlier indications for my “analytical side” or “mathematical side” in my childhood.  In fact, I vaguely recall a particular time when I just about bugged my mother to death asking her to count to 10 for me, over and over and over.  But beyond that, I remember a time in third grade, in Mrs. Russell’s class, that we were working on Multiplication tables.  We had been memorizing them for some time and we were handed a multiplication test which was to be timed.  Much like the one here: Multiplication Timed Test,

We had taken them before, but it seemed like all of a sudden, something clicked on.  The answers began to flow like I couldn’t believe.  There were 100 questions and, if I am not mistaken, we had 2 minutes to take the test.  I don’t think I had finished one before but on this day, bang boom zip!  I was done and there was time left to spare.  Not only that but I had aced it.  Up to that point in my life, I don’t think there was anything quite like that experience.  I looked around at those around me as they were methodically moving down their pages with their answers.  Some nearing the end, some only halfway done, but only I was looking around.  Once time was up and the tests were graded, I new I had found my favorite subject.

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