Something To Think About: Mathematical Lunacy

The notion that mathematical reasoning is somehow linked with mental illness is not as far-fetched as it might first appear.  The late mathematician, Robert Brooks, provides an amusing analogy of his own in our discussion of mathematical shape;

RW:  Then it’s(the world of mathematical shapes) your world.  You’re immersed in this abstract universe that you’ve created.

RB:  That’s right.  My wife is a family physician, and she says that the patients that remind her of me the most are the schizophrenics, because they’re walking around in a world that’s very real to them, but invisible to anyone else….  I actually spend a lot of time just sitting with… paper models, playing with them, and asking myself what is the same about them, and what is different.

Mathematics and mental illness:  Something to think about.

Something To Think About

Below are two quotes from two mathematicians.  Robert Brooks is speaking about mathematics, but could his statement refer to something else?  Charles Kalme mentions education and not mathematics, but is there a connection between the two quotes?  What do these two quotes suggest in our everyday lives?

“…it dawned on me that all the numbers we had been given to add up until that time had been kind of “cooked up”, so you didn’t have to carry…;  and I said to myself,  “I wonder what else they’re holding back?”–Robert Brooks, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, University of Southern California

“Education courses are where you learn not to rock the boat.”–Charles Kalme, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, University of Southern California