Yurij Mikhalevich
September 16, 2020

A Mathematician's Lament (Article) by Paul Lockhart

The fact is that there is nothing as dreamy and poetic, nothing as radical,
subversive, and psychedelic, as mathematics. It is every bit as mind blowing as cosmology or physics (mathematicians conceived of black holes long before astronomers actually found any), and allows more freedom of expression than poetry, art, or music (which depend heavily on properties of the physical universe). Mathematics is the purest of the arts, as well as the most misunderstood.

Today I’m going to recommend a short article by Paul Lockhart, “A Mathematician’s Lament”, a thought-provoking piece of textual art. The author boldly claims that math is an art and proves it, confidently, by walking you through his arguments. Paul Lockhart argues that we, as a society, greatly misunderstand what mathematics is and are trapped in a positive feedback loop of a broken school education system, which, in turn, reinforces the misunderstanding.

The tone of the prose is light-hearted, playful, serious, and concerned — all at the same time. This contributes a lot to the article being so engaging.

I, personally, very much enjoyed looking at math as art. The ideas presented in the text are very inspiring; they just feel right. There is also a book that was born out of the article! It promises to be an exciting read.

Builds the future at Lightning AI, creator of the Move Fast and Break Things community of software engineers, DeepLearning.AI mentor, creator of rclip, writes about tech, software engineering, books, what to watch, and beyond, practices creative writing and captures moments through photography
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