The Language of Mathematics

The Language of Mathematics

Many scientists and philosophers have wondered for a long time about the origins of Mathematics: is it something that was invented by humans, or is it intrinsic in nature and humans just happened to discover it?

From geometrical shapes to symmetry and patterns, or the golden ratio and the Fibonacci spiral, Maths can be found anywhere in Nature.

Most animals that inhabit Earth exhibit symmetries in their bodies, both internal and external. For example, the human being has bilateral symmetry – the axis is located approximately in the straight line that joins the nose to the belly button – each side has a leg, an arm, an ear, an eye, a lung, a kidney… A starfish, for instance, has a rotational symmetry, as well.

Other natural phenomena, like a hurricane shape or a nautilus shell, may look random but usually follows a mathematical pattern.

The simple number of spirals in a pinecone, pineapple or seeds in a sunflower, or even the number of petals on a flower are presented in the Fibonacci numbers. In view of Fibonacci’s rabbit problem, this sequence starts with the numbers 1 and 1, and afterward each subsequent number is found by adding the two previous numbers. Therefore, after 1 and 1, the next number is 2 (1 + 1), then 3 (1 + 2), and then 5 (2 + 3) and so on.

The mineral world also provides with countless mathematical examples. One in all the foremost famous within the world present in the so-called Giant’s Causeway, in Dublin, Ireland, in which an unlimited cluster of columns of volcanic basalt rock are hexagonal- or pentagonal-shaped.

Other simple actions that we do without even thinking about it can also have a relationship with maths. Let us say that you kick a ball. The movement from the moment you kick the ball to the moment the ball hits the ground can be perfectly described using a parabola. If the ball happened to fall into a puddle of water, ripples will be created in a concentric shape that can also be put on paper using maths. When you remove a sheet of paper from one pile to the other, you are subtracting and adding. If you draw a cube on a sheet of paper, you are making a representation of a real 3D object using a 2D surface.

No matter if Maths was invented or discovered by humans, it seems to be the only known language to humans that can most accurately describe visible reality. When you go to China, to communicate effectively with people you ought to learn Chinese… if you go to Spain, you ought to learn Spanish… but when you go to Nature, maths is the language to be used…

“Philosophy [nature] is written in that great book whichever is before our eyes – I mean the universe – but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. The book is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.” (1626, Galileo Galilei)