The
Language of Mathematics: Utilizing Math in Practice

by Robert L. Baber

last modified 2012 February 8

All rights to the material on this web page

are reserved by the author, Robert L. Baber.

by Robert L. Baber

last modified 2012 February 8

All rights to the material on this web page

are reserved by the author, Robert L. Baber.

This book was published
by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,
September 2011.

You can order The Language of Mathematics: Utilizing Math in Practice from any bookseller.

You can order The Language of Mathematics: Utilizing Math in Practice from any bookseller.

Background and my reasons for writing this book

The first step in solving mathematically a problem stated in English is to reformulate the English text into a mathematical model. The second step is solving the mathematical model. The first step is usually presumed to be part of the mathematical problem, but actually, it is a

My experience learning, using and teaching others mathematics and how to use it in practice has convinced me that looking at mathematics as a language can facilitate the learning process, understanding and the ability to apply mathematics in practice. I believe that it can even enable some people to learn how to use mathematics effectively who would otherwise be completely turned off mathematics by their early exposure to it – and there are many such people in today's world.

In order to reason logically about things, mathematicians have developed a particular language with particular characteristics. That language – the Language of Mathematics – and other languages developed by human societies are similar in some respects and different in some ways.

What is mathematics? Someone once answered that question with "What mathematicians do". That, of course, begs the question, "What do mathematicians do?" They reason logically about things – artificial, abstract things.

Many of those things, although artificial and abstract, are useful in modelling actual things in the real world, for example

- structures of buildings, dams, bridges, roads, etc.
- mechanical devices and equipment
- machines, engines and all kinds of energy conversion devices and systems
- vehicles of all types – land, underwater, water surface, air, space
- electrical circuits, devices and equipment for many different applications
- communication systems – wired and wireless – and their components
- systems for cryptography
- molecules, atoms, nuclei, subatomic particles
- chemical reactions and chemical reactors
- systems for generating and distributing electrical power
- nuclear decay and interaction processes, nuclear reactors
- heating and cooling systems
- computer software
- economies (production, consumption, imports, exports, trade, income, employment, prices, etc.)
- financial and economic markets (prices, trading volumes, options, derivative instruments, risk assessment, etc.)
- business systems and processes (sales, inventories, various assets and liabilities, etc.)
- astronomical systems, processes and phenomena
- atmospheric processes and phenomena
- ecological systems and processes
- geological processes and phenomena
- biological systems and processes
- structural aspects of languages, natural and artificial
- etc., etc.

To help others to learn mathematics or to improve their ability to apply it beneficially in their own work, I have written a book on mathematics as a language. This book will be of interest to the following groups of readers:

- engineers, consultants, managers, scientists, technicians and others who could benefit vocationally and professionally by a greater ability to use and apply mathematics in their work
- students in tertiary educational institutions
- students in secondary schools especially interested in mathematics, science or languages
- designers of mathematics curricula and teaching materials for students at all levels
- teachers of mathematics, science or languages in tertiary educational institutions (universities, polytechnics and vocational and technical schools)
- teachers of mathematics, science or languages in secondary schools
- teachers in primary schools who introduce pupils to mathematics and especially to word problems
- persons with a general or an intellectual interest in mathematics, science or language