## Mathematics |

Mathematicians seek and use patternsto formulate new conjectures; they resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proof. When mathematical structures are good models of real phenomena, then mathematical reasoning can provide insight or predictions about nature. Through the use of abstraction and logic, mathematics developed from counting, calculation, measurement, and the systematic study of the shapes and motions of physical objects. Practical mathematics has been a human activity from as far back as written records exist. The research required to solve mathematical problems can take years or even centuries of sustained inquiry. Most of the mathematical notation in use today was not invented until the 16th century. Before that, mathematics was written out in words, limiting mathematical discovery. Euler (1707–1783) was responsible for many of the notations in use today. Modern notation makes mathematics much easier for the professional, but beginners often find it daunting. According to Barbara Oakley, this can be attributed to the fact that mathematical ideas are both more abstract and more encrypted than those of natural language. Unlike natural language, where people can often equate a word (such as cow) with the physical object it corresponds to, mathematical symbols are abstract, lacking any physical analog. Mathematical symbols are also more highly encrypted than regular words, meaning a single symbol can encode a number of different operations or ideas. |