30.8.14

Mathematics Is Not Bible Studies


But seriously.

Everybody knows the Pythagorean theorem but very few people are familiar with the person who came up with it and the dogmatic sect he established. A dogmatic sect, which influenced Europeans for the next 2 centuries.

For the next 2 centuries most Europeans believed that only privileged people, mostly white European males, have the intrinsic aptitude to understand and advance Mathematics. During this time there were not too many technological advancements other than weapons, and other tools needed to win wars.

It wasn’t until the 20th century when the number of privileged white males in Europe and the Americas was drastically reduced as a direct result of the wars they fought, that men and women of all ethnic backgrounds were suddenly allowed to enter the scientific community in various parts of North America.

The vast majority of great American mathematicians of the 20th century are either immigrants or the second generation of immigrants. In other words, usually some of the poorest, least privileged of all citizens. 

What made these people so self-assured, so confident to think that they, of all people, have what it takes to become great Mathematicians? But more importantly, why is it that Mathematics is so unpopular in North America that if it were a person it would join the Mathematics club?  Each question contains the answer to the other.