One of the common objections to engaging in higher math is the sentiment that it’s not useful for future applications in life (at least for those who don’t pursue some heavily math-related career–and that’s most of us). It’s generally expressed as a rhetorical question, and goes something like this:
Why should I bother learning Algebra? When am I ever going to use one of these equations?
While it’s true that most of us never go on to use Algebra (let alone Calculus or Trigonometry) in the careers we pursue, this question misses a very important point. The very act of learning these methods also helps us become better problem solvers, analysts, and critical thinkers. We become better at taking in complex information and turning it into something we can make use of.
In the video below, famed astrophysicist and science popularizer Neil deGrasse Tyson makes this very point. He also reminds us that our world is becoming far more dependent on math and science.