There’s no underselling the importance of mathematics in all aspects of STEM. Although it comes last in the acronym, math is what informs all the leaps and bounds in science, technology, and engineering. Think of math as a foundational building block that makes everything else possible. Without a proper understanding of mathematics, we can’t go very far in innovation.
But math still gets a bad reputation. One of the main reasons why math is seen as such a bore, especially by younger students, is because it is presented in a way that is cold and detached from reality. When you teach math as a mechanic and dry subject with no real world motivation behind it, you’ll lose your students’ interest very quickly.
But there are so many ways that you can apply math to the real world. Ask any math tutor and they’ll tell you! It’s critical for STEM careers, some of the most rewarding, interesting, and high paying jobs today. Mathematics is a language that needs to be learned carefully, yet, it can be applied in so many ways.
Math in STEM Careers
One particular subset of science that captures curiosity is astronomy. In astronomy, math gave previous discoverers the tools they needed to measure how far stars, planets, and other galaxies are from each other and the earth. To this day, we use their discoveries as reference points for star mapping.
Engineers at NASA used mathematics to put man on the moon. During a time when the most advanced computers couldn’t even compete with today’s standard smartphone, the engineers were able to calculate a safe round-trip voyage to the moon.
Back on earth, you can also emphasize how math can help heal people through the general science of biology. In medicine for instance, you can show how math helps doctors and pharmacists understand how much medicine a patient may need in accordance with their condition.
Math informs things like doses and treatment plans. For chemists that make those medicines, math helps them understand the appropriate ratio for creating something that will help treat a disease. Chemists need math to calculate how much of a drug is helpful and how much of a drug is hurtful. Not only does this help heal ailments, but it makes medications safer.
Further, math helps climate scientists understand trends of temperature and weather. They can calculate the upcoming weather forecasts by studying the current data and using statistics to most accurately predict what is to come. Without math, climate science would be just a wild guessing game.
Ever been obsessed with your number of likes or your follower engagement ratio? Well many social media marketing companies are. With the boom of the smartphone, personal technology is thriving more than ever before, with no intention of slowing down.
Just over the past 10 years, the way people do business has shifted. Social media marketing or “influencer” marketing is what brands utilize in order to capture a younger customer base. Companies look at follower growth rates and rates of follower engagement when it comes to a celebrity or a brand itself. They use math to forecast their customer base and analyze how well they perform. Simply put, it’s all about the numbers.
App developers use math to both create and sustain these platforms. Whether it comes to backend setup, coding, or designing the aesthetics of the app itself, mathematics is a crucial component in having platforms that run efficiently and consistently for millions of users everyday.
And that’s just personal technology. With the rise of more eco-friendly, green conscious living, the way we transport ourselves is changing too. Electric vehicles are becoming more readily available, even trendy and luxurious. Mathematics plays a role in engineering vehicles and optimizing routes, helping make electric vehicles and shipping fleets run at maximum power and efficiency while keeping costs down.
There’s no downplaying the vital role of mathematics when building a safe and secure structure. Whether it’s someone’s dream home in the country or a multi-billion dollar high rise in the heart of downtown, builders have to rely on math to construct the blueprint placed in front of them.
For example, engineers need to know how the weight of the building can be supported and whether it can stand in the event of an emergency. They need to understand the importance of angles, the shape of the structure, and the amount of materials needed.
The architects that take on the creative design must also have an expert understanding of mathematics and aesthetics. Architects also need to know the appropriate proportions and ratios when it comes to harmonious and sensible design. Not only does a building have to be realistic, but it also has to be pleasing to the eye. Having an eye for design that is rooted in a deep understanding of mathematical harmony makes that all possible.
In school, when math is taught as a separate, dry, abstract subject, there’s no wonder that young students don’t enjoy it. In reality, math is anything but boring. Going into mathematics gives you the mental tools to think logically, analyze accurately, and problem solve creatively. There are so many avenues to take when you are mathematically literate.
In the realm of physics, mathematics plays a strong role whether it be practical, such as constructing new technologies, or theoretical such as conducting new experiments for research purposes. Understanding the natural world drives innovation and physicists are at the forefront of that push. Whether that be inventing the computer or making discoveries about particle behavior.
But you don’t have to be a physicist either. When it comes to finance, mathematicians can be some of the leading authorities in the field. Data forecasters and statisticians help analyze numbers, forecast trends in the market, and help private corporations maximize their profits.
Being math-literate is the key to continued innovation and discoveries. Whether it be in science, technology, or engineering, mathematics makes everything possible. It’s on today’s innovators and leaders to help emphasize how important mathematics is to not only how we understand the world now but to innovate and improve the lives we lead in the future.