Did You Use Algebra Today?

“Another day passed and I didn’t use algebra once…”

I see this meme over and over and over again. I saw a post on Facebook about math and it actually made me think about that meme. Kind of sad, isn’t it? A quick Google search yielded at least 50 different versions of it. It’s also on t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards…

I will admit it – I am a bit of a math snob. I am passionate about numbers. I studied advanced mathematics and physics in college (yep, I started out as a physics major – more on that another time). Math is a lot more important than a lot of people realize. Perhaps this will put it in perspective…

That’s right! You use algebra all the time and you might not even realize it. In fact, you’re probably using tons of advanced math ALL THE TIME! It’s part of what runs your electronic devices. It is how bridges are built. It is how planes stay in the air. It is how the computer I am typing on right now knows how to interpret the key strokes I am making into the letters I want to appear on the screen.

Yeah, but when do I actually use math?

Here’s another complaint I see on social media ALL the time – “Why didn’t they teach us how to do our taxes in school?”

News flash for you…THEY DID! In algebra class! Filing your taxes (while generally complex and convoluted and I’m not trying to get political so we won’t go further into the reasoning there…) is basically a very long algebra problem.

Math is all around you. One of the reasons I love physics is because it is the science of our physical world (explained through math) – how things react to one another. The reason I didn’t get a physics major in college (I ended up with a minor) was because I thought to myself, “I can’t see myself crunching numbers all day, every day of my life.” The funny conclusion to that story? I use math and physics all the time…as a photographer! I’m constantly doing calculations in my head (shutter speed, ISO, exposure, etc.) as well as understanding the physics of how light ‘works’ helps me do my job better.

The Universal Language

Some would say that music is the universal language. While I love and appreciate music, my counter to that would be that math is the universal language. It is the building block of our physical world – if we ever meet with aliens, we’ll probably start communicating using math. And, you could say, that music is a form of complex math. All of those notes? They’re an equation. Harmonies and melodies are just a different way of adding, subtracting and multiplying…

Okay…rant over. I hope that this post shed a little light on the subject, and that you perhaps have a new appreciation for algebra (and other forms of mathematics).

What are your thoughts on math? Leave a comment below. AND, if you want to know you’re working with a super nerdy photographer who understands the math and physics behind photography, do some simple addition and ADD me to your wedding. Sorry, that was bad, but you get the ‘dad jokes’ at no extra charge! So get on it!



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