Chips 'n fish


Mathematics is considered to be a subject that focuses on fixed methods and uses rules that cannot or should not be broken.

But is this always the case?

Did you notice something not quite right in the title of this article?

Do you think it should be Fish and Chips?

Most people would say yes. But why?

What about saying Pepper and Salt instead of Salt and Pepper?

The list goes on:

Jill and Jack (Jack and Jill)

Butter and bread (Bread and butter)

Down and up (Up and down)

Blue and black (Black and blue)

Neither reason nor rhyme (Neither rhyme nor reason)

Turvy topsy (Topsy turvy)

Can you add to the list?

What does this have to do with mathematics? Everything.

People who FOLLOW the rules and conventions of maths will make GOOD mathematicians.

People who BREAK the rules and conventions of maths will make GREAT mathematicians.

Creativity occurs when questions are asked and rules are challenged.

Accepting a mathematical formula without question is the easy way out.

What if I said the two formulae shown on the right are two of the most important formulae in Quantum Physics?

Is this true? How would you decide?

The first formula is pure jibberish! I made it up.

The second formula is Einstein’s proof that an object can never reach the speed of light.

In the formula, K is the energy of the object, m is its mass, v is its speed and c is the speed of light.

Nothing provokes the true mathematician more than for someone to say “It cannot be done mathematically”.

Many great discoveries came about because mathematicians dared to be different; they questioned everything.