what it’s good for

~ Harold Finch, on Person of Interest

“Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, and this is just the beginning; it keeps on going, forever, without ever repeating… …all of the world’s infinite possibilities rest within this one simple circle. Now what you do with that information; what it’s good for, well that would be up to you.”

character of Harold Finch, Person of Interest

Pi, circumference, patterns, symbols, and so forth continue to draw me in as a way of seeing just about everything. I just began reading How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics by Eugenia Chang and it is incredible.

Here’s a quote: “The story I’m going to tell is about abstract mathematics. I’m going to argue that its power and beauty lie not in the answers it provides or the problems it solves, but in the light that it sheds. That light enables us to see clearly, and that is the first step to understanding the world around us.”

I don’t know about you, but if I had been graced with either Harold Finch (a fictional character, but still) or Eugenia Chang as a mathematics teacher I doubt seriously that I would have struggled so much with algebra in high school and college. I was always very good at geometry because I could sense that it connected to something much bigger than the pages of a textbook.

My son is graduating from college tomorrow with a degree in mathematics. Of course I am ridiculously proud of him. His brain and the way it works has always fascinated me. I previously thought he was a bit of an anomaly because neither myself or my ex-husband were particularly gifted in math. Looking at it more holistically, however, has helped me to understand that I, too, can see (albeit dimly) through the mysterious lens of numbers.

It’s a breathtaking view.

1 thought on “what it’s good for”

  1. Congratulations to your son! And to you as well since children succeed with the support of their parents!


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