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Why Is Math Important in Life?

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Quick Answer

Math is important in life for its practical, everyday applications like cooking and baking, financing a home and providing the right tip at a restaurant. It is also used by professionals to solve problems.

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Why Is Math Important in Life?
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Full Answer

The use of math dates back to ancient times, when it helped societies regulate agricultural production and was used by sailors to complete their voyages across oceans. Today, math is relevant to all aspects of daily life. It describes patterns in nature, helps people determine how much they can spend on lunch, creates masterful desserts and more. Math is essentially a language of numbers that, through understanding and interpreting, people use to carry about small, daily life functions and make large and important decisions.

Practical Uses of Math

Math is the basis behind many symmetries and patterns that relate to nature and aesthetics. The Fibonacci Sequence, which creates a number by adding the two previous numbers, mathematically explains the patterns seen in everyday objects like sunflowers, shells, pine combs, bee nests and more. Because the human eye is naturally drawn to objects that are symmetrical, many artists incorporate symmetry, and therefore the Fibonacci Sequence, in their artwork. One of the most famous examples is the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Mealtime is also a time for math. Recipes used for cooking and baking require counting and measuring ingredients, which is a component of mathematics. Math comes in handy for altering recipes or making larger and smaller batches. When people go out to eat, they must figure out how much money to leave for a tip. The standard tip amount is 15 to 20 percent of the bill. Diners can figure out the tip by finding one-tenth of the bill's cost. Ten percent of a bill that amounts to $39, for example, is $3.90. An individual would add five percent to that amount to get a 15 percent tip or double it for a 20 percent tip. Similarly, math is used for exchanges of money using cash. At a cash register, a shopper uses math to give the cashier the correct amount of money for the purchase and to verify that he or she received the right amount of change in return.

Math in Professional Fields

On a larger scale, math is widely used for professional endeavors. Economists use math to determine financial well-being on small and large scales. They must understand the relationships between the factors that drive the economic health of a company or a nation. Doctors and physicians use math to diagnose patient illnesses, prescribe medicine and conduct clinical research. Actuaries use statistics to determine the probability of certain events happening, such as unemployment, death and illness. Engineers rely on mathematics to plan transportation systems and design city spaces. An ecologist can use math to explain the relationship between organisms and their natural environment. Scientists and statisticians use math when they interpret and analyze the results of experiments and studies. Math also appears in the field of professional sports as players use various types of math during games. A baseball player, for example, must figure out what the best angle is for throwing a ball that results in the hitter striking out. He uses geometry and statistics to do so.

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