Usefullness Of Mathematics In Everyday Life

1435 words - 6 pages

Usefullness of Mathematics in Everyday Life

G H Hardy once said that "Very little of mathematics is useful practically, and that little is comparatively dull". This statement is blatantly incorrect. Mathematics appears in virtually all fields in some form or another, and it is the only truly universal language. Even fields considered the opposite of mathematics, such as literature, are filled with different forms of math. Music is based very heavily on numbers, and even religions hold different numbers as sacred. Of course one could say that all these examples are merely basic arithmetic. What about higher mathematics? Can we really use algebra, probability, calculus or any other higher form of math in today's society? The answer to that question is a resounding "Yes!" Even higher mathematics has been and is still used in all sorts of fields, and it is the purpose of this paper to show just a few ways in which higher math has been applied to life.

First of all, no discussion about the uses of higher mathematics in the real world would be complete without mentioning something that happened over sixty years ago. On September 3, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany in response to their invasion of Poland. To combat their new enemies, Germany quickly sent a land army to overrun France, and then prepared to take on England. Hitler's plan to defeat this small island was to stop all resources from getting through to them, effectively starving them into surrender. The Nazi army had a very effective weapon with which they could challenge the British supremacy of the waves, the U-boat. The German submarines wreaked havoc on the British supply routes, and Churchill knew that if a way couldn't be found to stop the German subs, they would stand no chance of winning the war. Bletchley Park was established for this mission. The German's were sending out orders to their subs using a very advanced mechanical code known as the Enigma code. If England could crack this cipher and learn of the German's plans, stopping the U-boat threat would be much easier. Bletchley Park gathered the finest code breakers and mathematicians from around the country in hopes that these men and women would be able to break the code and give England the advantage they needed. A mathematical formula could be used to determine all the possible arrangements for the code, but there wasn't enough time for men to do all the number crunching required. For this, machines were used. These forefathers of the modern day computer could do math so much faster than men that they were able to rapidly crack the Enigma. It was this combination of math and machine that enabled England to win the war against the German U-Boat, and eventually against all of Germany. Without mathematics, who knows whether or not England would have been able to defeat the Nazi's. [4]

A much more modern use of mathematics is also along the lines of codes. In today's world of electronics and the Internet,...

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