See also the
Dr. Math FAQ:
why study math?
Browse High School About Math
Stars indicate particularly interesting answers or
good places to begin browsing.
Selected answers to common questions:
Art and mathematics.
Law and mathematics.
Medicine and mathematics.
Music and mathematics.
Poetry and mathematics.
What is mathematics?
Was math invented or discovered?
- Do We Really Need to Learn Math? [11/19/2002]
Why do we need to know math if we can have a calculator do it?
- Duotrigesimal (Base 32) Numbers [06/11/1999]
A unique and interesting use for base 32 or "duotrigesimal" numbers.
- Employee Turnover Rate [09/19/2002]
What is the formula to calculate employee turnover rate?
- Etymology of the Word Mathematics [12/10/2001]
Why do you call maths maths?
- The Fairness of Democracy [09/16/1998]
What are some ideas to think about with regard to the fairness of
- Fourier Transforms [09/17/1998]
What is a Fourier Transform and what is it used for?
- Geometry for Police Officers [02/24/1997]
How is geometry ever going to help me in my career as a police officer?
- Giving Myself a Challenge [09/20/2014]
A student wonders if doing puzzles from math competitions would help her as she prepares for her advanced coursework. Doctor Ian suggests many ways to exercise lateral thinking skills, mathematical insight, and creativity in problem-solving no matter the source of a question &mdash or its difficulty.
- Godel's Incompleteness Theorem [01/18/1999]
What does Goedel prove in his incompleteness theorem?
- How Can a Set Be Empty? [09/29/2003]
Why is the empty or null set called a set when it has no elements?
- How Does Math Relate to Economics? [02/20/2007]
Economics has to do with the consumption and production of goods, so
how else besides simply using numbers does math relate to it?
- How Do I Learn Basic Math as an Adult? [08/02/2004]
I'm an adult hoping to take a statistics course, but I haven't thought
about math in 20 years and was never very good at it. How can I learn
all those basic things I missed back then?
- How Do Lawyers Use Math? [01/26/2001]
I have to write a two-page paper on how lawyers use math.
- How Numbers Will Change in the Future [10/29/2003]
I'm asking my students to develop new number systems. I was hoping to
show them what other people are speculating about future number
systems, but I was unable to find anything.
- How to Motivate Students to Learn Math? [03/06/2008]
Dr. Ian replies to a question about motivating students to learn about
special quadrilaterals with some excellent general advice on
motivation, math education, and real life application of mathematics.
- The Importance of Geometry Constructions [12/29/1998]
Why are geometry constructions important? What do we learn from them?
Where have they appeared in math history?
- The Importance of Math [08/23/2000]
Why is math a core subject?
- Impossibility of Constructing a Regular Nine-Sided Polygon [04/07/1998]
Can you construct a regular 9 sided polygon with just a compass and
- Impossible Problems [08/07/2001]
Are there prizes for finding solutions to impossible problems?
- Inverse Hyperbolic Cosine in Terms of ln [05/27/2003]
What is t in the equation ln(e^0.1t + 9e^-0.1t) = ln10 ?
- Is Algebra Useful in the Real World? [10/27/2002]
We are having a court trial about why we do or do not need algebra.
- Is Geometry a Language? [01/28/2002]
I have to write an essay to defend or criticize the statement, "Geometry
is a Language."
- Is Math a Science? [03/18/2001]
Is mathematics considered a science?
- I Solved It. Now What? [10/16/2003]
I can solve an equation like 12 = 5x + x + 6 to get x = 1, but I don't
know what it means, or what I'm supposed to do next.
- Is Zero a Perfect Square? [08/01/2001]
I have been told that zero is not considered a perfect square, yet the
square root of zero is zero...
- Julian to Calendar Date Conversion [02/24/2001]
Can you show me an algorithm to convert Julian date values to calendar
date values? For example, Julian date 2451964 = 02/24/2001.
- Larger Than and As Large As [08/01/1999]
If the percussion section has 6 people, does the expression "the brass
section is three times larger than the percussion section" mean that the
brass section is 3*6 = 18 people or 4*6 = 24 people?
- Laws of Arithmetic [02/12/1999]
The Distributive Law, Associative Law, Identity, and Commutative
- Learning Math Formulas [02/22/2001]
Why is it important to develop math formulas, and why is it important to
- Learning to Like Math [12/04/2002]
I cannot concentrate in math, no matter how hard I try. How can I pay
better attention in math?
- Making Math Interesting [08/15/2000]
Do you have any tips for how I can stay focused in math going into the
7th grade this coming year?
- Making Math Seem Easy [3/8/1996]
How can you make math seem more easy to do?
- Math and Fashion [01/27/2003]
How is math used for fashion?
- Math and Music [4/10/1996]
I need information on how math is involved in music.
- Math and the Bible [01/24/2002]
How can I integrate math and the Bible?
- Math and the Law [11/24/1998]
Examples of how mathematics is used by lawyers to win cases.
- Math and the Piano [09/27/1998]
How is math is related to the piano? What about tempo, pitch, and tuning?
- The Math Behind Music: Pitches, Scales, Geometry [12/03/1997]
Connections between music, physics, and math.
- Mathematical Models [07/17/2002]
What is a mathematical model, and how would it be used?
- Mathematics and Philosophy [6/5/1996]
I was wondering if mathematicians viewed mathematics as being
'transcendental' of the universe.