About Social Mathematics

This is a blog designed to discuss the social uses of math. What have computers done to the realm of pure math? With the surplus of calculators in the world, do we need to memorize the simple multiplication problems like 8×7=56 ? Is it morally degrading that we constantly use technology we can’t begin to understand? What changes math-hating high school students into college students who frequently attend and use mathematics in their careers? In elementary school and high school there are so many people who activity hate and despise math; and yet by the time we all grow up; we have relaxed about math’s power over our lives.

Math is everywhere. Sometimes we choose to obsess over it (Bills) or ignore it (Debt) but I believe we should not obsess or ignore. Fruit and Vegetables should be a part of everyone’s diet. So too should Math.

SamanthaUnderBranchSo who am I to tell you these things? My name is Samantha Schumacher (previously Samantha Oestreicher) and I recently earned my PhD in Applied Mathematics.  My research interest is in modeling whole earth dynamics with regards to climate change. I hated mathematics in high school, but somewhere along the way I decided I only hated it because everyone else did.  I’m interested in why people hate math or don’t believe in its uses. If you are new, please take a look around. I would recommend the trio of posts on how Tap Dancing = Climate Change as a good place to start. It’s not the beginning, but it’s a self contained set of posts that may help you decide if you like it here. Welcome!

How Tap Dancing = Climate Change

1. Tap Dancing Mathematics

2. Math Games in Tap Class

3. How Tap Dancing is Like Climate Change

To contact Social Mathematics for any reason, please leave a comment below or submit with the web form and I’ll respond to you as soon as possible!

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7 Responses to About Social Mathematics

  1. Bill Satzer says:

    Hi Samantha – You might be interested in an article in the current issue of Science (Nov. 6): “Pacific Rim Mathematicians Coaxed from Their Ivory Towers”.

  2. HillDvorak says:

    Hi Samantha, how you doing ? My name is Hilton Dvorak from Brazil, I’m graduating in CS,and found your blog through browsing images on google search. I thought interesting the name of the site and saw a post about hunger statistics…Anyway, I agree with you when people say bad things about math…”it’s hard, where/when I will apply it in a daily basis (at least, here in Brazil, when I was in high school, I always heard that…”. Make long story short, when I was 12yo, my dad used to talk about his experiences during his school days with math and I started to do what everyone else do when confronted to the challenges of math:complain. Last year I passed an exam in 3rd place in math in a awesome university and I can say for sure: math is not that hard just like any other thing in this life! With effort and dedication, we all can learn math ! My interest in math started when I was trying to program a game just like Doom or Quake, and I realized the math behind game-engines and all that stuff in computer. I bought some books about game-engine design, and when I realized, I was studying Calculus by my self and start to understand more and more about the whole math field.
    Sorry for this long sentence, but I’m just trying to share my happiness ’bout it and about your own experiences shared in this blog. Hope we can be friends to share our experiences and love about math… Awesome blog ! I have a “totally freezed” facebook account (spend all my time or doing game-engine thing or studying some math thing…) but if you want, just add me on face or any social media that you have….
    Again, great blog !!!
    Greetings from Brazil !!! =D

    • Samantha says:

      Thank you for such a wonderful post! And my sincere apologies for the delayed reply to your message. I’ve had a crazy few months (I just bought a house!). I’m SO thrilled to hear that you found so much to relate to on the site! Programming (and game design) has so much math! I’m suspicious that this might be why I liked linear algebra so much- I had linear algebra to thank for all the 3D graphics in my favorite MMORPGs! I hope you continue to find interesting articles here. Social Mathematics Facebook page sees a little more activity than the blog- so be sure to check that out too!

  3. I just found your blog, and Im really looking forward to exploring it more and seeing new posts. You go over a lot of math topics I would never think of, sort of like Freakanomics for math. Very cool! 🙂 https://mathsux.org/

    • Samantha says:

      Welcome! Happy to you found Social Math! MathSux looks great; looks like we have a similar goal of Making math accessible! I’m looking forward to exploring your site more. Thanks for visiting!

  4. sixfootjew says:

    Love it! Fun with math is the best! Thank you for writing all of this!

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