Friday, August 04, 2006

Loving Math

I have never heard a whale sing - as a matter of fact not even know that they do. While that is amazing in itself, that the songs could be transformed into these beautiful Mandala like images is even more so. My grandfather swore by mental math making my cousins work on their arithmetic at the crack of dawn, their eyes still heavy with sleep. When I visited, I would be corralled in with them as well.

Even in his late eighties he could help my oldest cousin with solid geometry and calculus without pen or paper - not that they would be any use to him with his nearly blind eyes. We were naturally in awe of his prodigious abilities and felt woefully inadequate. When we asked him how he did what he did he said "You have to learn to love math and see how beautiful a subject it is. As long as you approach math with fear you will not see the beauty and definitely not be able to forge a lasting friendship"

I did not quite understand what he meant by that until I first saw fractal images. I am sure he would have enjoyed the way math transformed whale songs to mandalas - recognizing a kindred spirit who like him approached math without trepidation and saw its beauty just like him.

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