Mathematics has been an exciting and challenging area of study throughout human history. Today, mathematics has developed into a tool so sophisticated that most people do not even notice its omnipresence in our lives. Mathematics has natural elegance and beauty and mathematicians are making lasting contributions by developing models and solution methods in diverse fields including but not limited to physics, computer sciences, machines learning, data sciences, medicine, economics, management, psychology, and social sciences. The generic nature of mathematics means that almost all industries require graduates with analytical and quantitative skills in mathematics.
To celebrate the beauty and importance of mathematics and its essential role in everyone's life, the International Mathematical Union (IMU) has initiated the project to have UNESCO proclaim March 14 as the International Day of Mathematics (IDM). March 14 is already known as Pi Day and celebrated in many countries across the globe. It is named after the important number Pi (π), the ratio between the circumference and diameter of a circle and approximately equal to 3.14. Pi is an irrational number, and its decimal representation never ends. All over the world, the IDM celebration expands Pi Day to include the whole spectrum of mathematics.
For IDM, people around the world are invited to celebrate the importance of mathematics. To raise awareness about mathematics by creative activities, fascinated by intriguing public talks and engaged in surprising events.
The IDM logo representing the decimals of π t 3.14159265358979.
Every year, the IDM announce a new theme to flavor the celebration, spark creativity and bring light to connections between mathematics and all disciplines, new concepts and ideas. The theme for 2020 is “Mathematics is everywhere”. This very broad theme reaches all of the public, regardless of age, with a wide spectrum of messages. It will be presented with some explanations that could be used to stimulate the organizers for building their own examples.
A few examples from the daily life to show that how mathematics is everywhere, are given as follows
1. The success of Google comes from its brilliant mathematical PageRank algorithm.
2. Cryptography for secure communication relies on number theory.
3. Medical imaging devices like computed tomography scan (CT-scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measure numerical data, and a mathematical algorithm builds an image out of them.
4. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are now transforming the world: for instance, computer vision, automatic translation, autonomous vehicles, etc.
5. The decoding of the human genome is a triumph of mathematics, statistics, and computer science.
6. Mathematics was used to create the first photo of a black hole.
7. Mathematics is used to optimize transport and communication networks.
8. Mathematics helps us understand and control the spread of epidemics.
9. Statistics and optimization are used in the efficient planning and managing of health, economic, and social systems.
10. Mathematics is essential to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
11. Mathematics is used to model global changes and their consequences for biodiversity.
12. Optimization techniques and data analysis are needed in the move to sustainable use of the world’s resources.
13. Mathematics education empowers girls and women for a better future.
14. Numeracy and scientific literacy help every citizen to better understand the challenges facing the world around them.
15. Mathematics inspires artists and musicians: symmetries, fractals, elegant curves and surfaces; patterns, scales, and sounds in music.
16. Mathematics is helpful in games of strategy, from backgammon or chess to solving a Rubik’s cube.
17. Mathematics is useful in budgeting.
18. Mathematics is behind the functioning of GPS.
19. Mathematics is behind the software of our smartphones.
20. Cosmology models the evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang until today, and predicts its future.
The International Day of Mathematics (IDM) is a worldwide celebration supported by several international and regional organizations. Therefore, it our collective responsibility to spread the word about the IDM and celebrate the importance of mathematics not only in the classroom environment but also at different relevant forums such as a library or museum, involve local university or researchers, make a big public party at a park, reach out to local cultural, social or youth center.
For creating awareness about the importance of mathematics, and to celebrate the International Day of Mathematics, the department of mathematics, COMSATS University Islamabad, Pakistan has taken the leading role in organizing several activities on March 14, 2020 for the mathematics enthusiast, students and the general public.
Dr. Abdullah Shah
Department of Mathematics,
COMSATS University Islamabad,
Park Road, Islamabad.
Phone : (office) (+9251) 9049 5551
Note: Some of the contents are reproduce from the IDM webpage (https://www.idm314.org/) with publishing permission.