# Math - The Language of the Universe

Updated on May 24, 2016

## Math - The Language of the Universe - Its Relevancy and Importance in the Cosmos

Many immature students frequently ask why math is important. They do this with the implication that math is unnecessary in what they call “real life” and therefore they should not have to waste their time studying it. And in their ignorance they may genuinely feel that they are right and actually possess an argument that should be listened to. However it doesn’t take long for anybody with half-a-brain to realize that real life is not only full of math, but that real life is governed by it.

History is full of these people who had more than half-a-brain, these smart people who came along and discovered the manner in which math is involved with our daily lives. One of these individuals was James Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish scientist in the field of mathematical physics who –with his math formulas- revolutionized the concept of electrodynamics.

James Clerk Maxwell’s math formulas brought together –for the first time- electricity, magnetism, and light. In order to formulate the theories he did, Maxwell developed math equations to measure the frequency and wavelength of radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays. What’s so fascinating is that all of these forces are very powerful in the manner in which they affect our daily lives, and they are also ‘very invisible’; and yet Maxwell used math formulas to study their natural laws of behavior and to prove their existence. The math Maxwell used has been called the “second great unification in physics”; as he has been regarded as the third greatest physicists of all time -third only to Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton. Sure Maxwell may have always had a sense of intuition which led him to believe that these forces existed in nature, and a sense of intuition to lead him in the right direction in studying these forces of nature; but without math, Maxwell never would’ve been able to grasp the characteristics of these forces and actually prove their existence. And without math, Maxwell would’ve never been able to establish a better mass understanding of how these forces work together to affect our daily lives.

Dead-in-the-water is a term used to describe something that is unable to move. Life in Nature is most certainly not dead-in-the-water; it is constantly moving and changing. Although it is doing such, it follows certain laws that never change. A cup of coffee left on a table will always become cool. Gravity always remains steady, it never fluctuates. Our planet Earth rotates continuously on its axis once every 24 hours on the dot. This has been going on for billions of years, throughout the history of time itself. A modern cosmologist by the name of Sean Carroll comments “A law of physics is a pattern that nature obeys without exception.” Life as we know it is constantly moving and in order to stay alive and prosper, as a species, it is imperative that we move with it. We can’t do this properly if we can’t understand those laws, or at least, understand those laws better. And we can’t do this without math.

The laws of nature that we discover here and now and anywhere on this planet for that matter are also true anywhere in the universe, and this has been the case since the beginning of time. It’s easy to take this fact for granted. Coming to a better understanding of how these laws operate involves countless experiments over time. And these include measurements and recordings. All of this documentation doesn’t necessarily happen with words and paragraphs, it happens with numbers. Math is the language through which the universe speaks. If you were to move to a different country for the rest of your life and they only spoke one language there and that language was not your own, you would think it not only wise but necessary to learn everything there is to know about that one language in order to not only survive, but enjoy everything that country had to offer. Well the universe only speaks one language and that language is math. This is the primary reason why it is so important to study it, to know it, and to use it.

Although the examples I have provided are a good starting point in presenting the argument behind why a student of Electrical Engineering needs to study math in order to thrive in his career, they are only that, a starting point. The list goes on-and-on. But for the sake of this paper, I think it necessary to make a few other brief points regarding computers, future employers, and the well-rounded individual.

Yes we have invented computers to make a lot of things easier but computers do not make traditional math analysis obsolete –not in the least! Computer programs contain mathematical relations and understanding these relations is still necessary. For example, debugging computer programs can be a difficult art. But one of the best ways to test a program in order to find the problem is to compare a computer simulation to the analytical solution for the same situation, and you need to possess a good understanding of how to use math in order to do so. Also, when brute-force computer code is used to write a computer program that has a long runtime, for example, the presence of error will accumulate as that program runs due to the limited resolution of code written without the use of math; but when a writer includes these math formulas, analytical solutions, and appropriate algorithms into the writing of the code, great increases in both speed and accuracy are the direct result. There is simply no avoiding math, especially when it comes to computers.

Employers are well aware of the relationship between math and computers and are going to be looking for candidates to possess a solid understanding of this truth. It’s a vast spectrum of employers, including: scientific research and development services, navigation, measuring, electro-medical, control instrument manufacturing, electric power generation, transmission and distribution, architecture, and of course engineering.

When it comes to the assimilation of math into one’s life, as the Borg would say in Star Trek the Next Generation, “Resistance is Futile”. Math is the language which governs the forces of nature and if you don’t speak it, you will be dead-in-the-water. You may have many great ideas but without math you will not see those great ideas come to fruition; whether it is you or someone else you pay to do the math, the math must get done. No matter your field, math will always be necessary somewhere along the line of progress because math is the language of the Universe.

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