Porto, Portugal

Bachelor's

Language: Portuguese

Subject area: mathematics and statistics

Qualification: politécnico

University website: www.ipp.pt

Mathematics (from Greek μάθημα máthēma, "knowledge, study, learning") is the study of such topics as quantity, structure, space, and change. It has no generally accepted definition.

The final truth about a phenomenon resides in the mathematical description of it; so long as there is no imperfection in this, our knowledge of the phenomenon is complete. We go beyond the mathematical formula at our own risk; we may find a model or a picture which helps us understand it, but we have no right to expect this, and our failure to find such a model or picture need not indicate that either our reasoning or our knowledge is at fault. The making of models or pictures to explain mathematical formulas and the phenomena they describe is not a step towards, but a step away from reality; it is like making a graven image of a spirit.

Sir James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe (1930)

Think of it: of the infinity of real numbers, those that are most important to mathematics—0, 1, √2, e and π—are located within less than four units on the number line. A remarkable coincidence? A mere detail in the Creator's grand design? I let the reader decide.

Eli Maor, e: The Story of a Number (1994)

Mathematics is a versatile art; it can be applied to widely different purposes. Math has no morality; it does not care what it counts or what it proves.

Brian Stableford, Ashes and Tombstones, in Peter Crowther (ed.) Moon Shots (1999), reprinted in David G. Hartwell (ed.) Year's Best SF 5 (2000), p. 412