MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #116

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin


Fall 2012 Presentation #116 (September 7, 2012)

Prof. Thomas Drucker, UW-W

Past Lectures: (Counting Bridges with Euler)

"What Does Mathematics Have to Do with Thinking?"


Mathematics is often trotted out as a paradigm of human thought. When one sees mathematics being applied or taught, however, there seems to be a good deal of rote application of formulae. Even proofs sometimes look as though they depend more on memorization than thinking. If that is all there is to mathematics, it is not surprising that some people have claimed that mathematics can be reduced to what computers do. In this talk we shall try to look beyond the rote learning and applications of mathematics to a kind of problem where the solution demands thinking that one cannot always count on a computer to supply. The application of mathematics in one generation is the result of thinking in generations gone by.


Lecturer in the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin--Whitewater, where I've taught mathematics, computer science, and philosophy. Program Director for the Philosophy of Mathematics Special Interest Group of the Mathematical Association of America. Author of numerous articles on mathematicians and mathematics, from Tartaglia to Grothendieck and from probability to topology. Editor of 'Perspective on the History of Mathematical Logic'.


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