See also the
Dr. Math FAQ:
why study math?
3D and higher
Browse Middle 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?
- History Reclaimed — and Discoveries Claimed [02/01/2015]
An adult laments how often we credit discoveries to the wrong people, citing the example of Baudhayana as the first historical figure to document the Pythagorean theorem. Doctor Ian separates mathematical discovery from adoption — and proof.
- 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 Many Formulas? [11/25/2002]
How many formulas do you actually have to learn?
- 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.
- 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?
- Integers in Daily Life [05/31/2002]
How are integers (especially negative integers) used in daily life?
- Investigating Numbers is Illogical [10/15/2001]
Why do we have to be interested in maths and numbers so much?
- 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 a Sheet of Paper a 2D or 3D Object? [05/17/2008]
Our teacher said that a piece of paper is a two-dimensional object
that has no height, but some of my classmates and I disagree. We think
a piece of paper still has a height, even if it is very, very, small,
and that it is therefore a three-dimensional object. Who's right?
- Is Full Equal to Empty? [06/15/1999]
1/2 full = 1/2 empty, so when we multiply both sides of the equation by
1/2, won't we get full = empty?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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 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?
- Math Anxiety [04/04/1997]
Do you have any information about math anxiety?
- Mathematical Models [07/17/2002]
What is a mathematical model, and how would it be used?
- Mathematics As Analogy [12/16/2003]
How can the ratio of a finite circumference to a finite diameter give
an infinite value for pi?
- Mathematics, Logic, and Intuition [05/27/2003]
How is math related to logic and intuition?
- Math in Dance [09/30/2001]
Can you explain possible ways that math and dance could be related?
- Math in Everyday Life [09/22/2000]
I need to write a story about all the ways in which math relates to
everyday life over the course of one day. Could you help me with some
- Math in Everyday Life [10/17/2002]
How do you use math in your everyday life?
- Math in the Real World [2/19/1996]
I would like to know some examples of mathematical applications in the
- Math is Power? [03/13/2003]
What do people mean when they say that 'math is power'?
- The Math of Time [05/15/1997]
What is the connection between math and time?
- Math Used Every Day [11/20/2001]
What type of math do I use every day?
- Meaning of the Phrase: Divide by Zero. [01/02/1998]
I want to use 'divide by zero' to indicate a physically impossible task.
What does the phrase actually mean?
- Mod Function and Negative Numbers [04/28/2000]
What is the correct value for the function MOD(-340,60)? Microsoft Excel
returns the value 20, while Lotus 1-2-3 returns the value -40. Can you
explain the difference?
- Multiple Solutions [02/08/2002]
Why is there more than one way of doing one type of math problem?
- Multiplication's Multiple Meanings: Unified by the Distributive [01/01/2015]
Area? Matrix multiplication? Scaling and rotation? A parent seeks a global
understanding — or at least some internal consistency — as to what ties
together all the operations called "multiplication." Building up from the natural
numbers, where multiplication is repeated addition (MIRA), Doctor Peterson teases out two
- Multiplying by 1 [09/01/1998]
Why doesn't a number change when you multiply it by 1?
- The New Math [07/05/2000]
What is the "New Math?"
- Non-terminating Decimal Representations of Fractions [11/10/1997]
Why when you take a finite, limited quantity like one-third and turn it
into a decimal do you get .333... on into infinity?