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.