Maths is Good for You Because...


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The first quote is by John Dee, who lived at the end of 16th, beginning of 17th century. John Dee was one of the most learned men of his time. He was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, and an adviser to the Queen Elizabeth I. He was very famous even in his lifetime, and had written and published many works. In his famous preface to Euclid's Elements, this is what he wrote of mathematics:

"Many other arts also there are which beautify the mind of man: but of all other none do more garnish and beautify it than those arts which are called Mathematical. Unto the knolwedge of which no man can attain, without the perfect knowledge and instruction of the principles, grounds, and Elements of Geometry. But perfectly to be instructed in them, requires diligent study and reading of old ancient authors..."

A bit later on, Pitiscus, who is responsible for the invention of the word 'trigonometry', published a work in three volumes on that subject, and in a third volume, published in 1612, he praised mathematicians above theologians:

"Nothing makes men more gentle than the cultivation of that heavenly philosophy (mathematics). But, dear God, how rarely is this gentleness a quality of theologians! And how desirable it would be in this century if all theologians were mathematicians, that is, gentle and manageable men!"

Of course, there are some less gentle and positive things that people had to say about mathematicians throughout the ages, but we won't bother ourselves with that now...



John Dee 1527-1609

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