From the editor:

# Count on it

April 26, 2017

“It was at these sessions where I first started to fall in love with math.” Hmmm…I have to say, that just doesn’t compute with me. I really can’t comprehend a statement like that. Want to know what else I can’t comprehend? Math. Well, at least higher math. I mean, I’m not a complete slug when it comes to the subject. I was even in some advanced placement classes in high school. I could do the work, for the most part. (Until I took pre-calculus in college, which I’ve written about previously.) I just never fell in love with it. Words, I loved – numbers and I were just mere acquaintances that I had to make polite conversation with.

I saved very little memories from high school classes, but I recently came across an algebra test of story problems. I had earned a perfect score – the only one in the class. It’s the test that moved me into an AP course and after all these years, somehow, I had still saved it. I’d like to say I saved it because that’s when I started to love math, but I think it was more a matter of proving that I could conquer it.

I’m certainly not the only one who feels this way. My co-worker, Jen, stopped by my office yesterday and I mentioned to her the math-lover’s blog from which I was reading (whom I referenced above). She said, “Math? Nope. I just came for the pi.” Which, I had literally just typed into my notes to use in my blog. Seriously. That’s why we work so well together – a love of baked goods and really dumb humor. Well, that and because she’s a pretty fantastic colleague. Anyway, my point is, plenty of people don’t love math. But, thank goodness there are plenty of Spartans who do. Math really is a cornerstone for discovery and touches our lives in ways I couldn’t begin to imagine.

I’m guessing many of you didn’t know that April is National Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month. (But I bet you know when National Pi(e) Day is.) As much as I don’t love it, I can totally appreciate the need to celebrate it. Life would be a lot worse off without math, and the people who love and study it.

Thomas Grubb is the student who wrote the comment above about loving math. He’s a wicked smart Dean's Research Scholar senior majoring in mathematics. The sessions he speaks of are training sessions for a ridiculously hard and prestigious math test, the Putnam Competition. Check out his STUDENT VIEW: The pursuit of higher math, to learn more about this intelligent young man and just how hard the competition is.