8: Number Theory
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Many students are often amazed at the many formulas and discoveries in mathematics. They ask "Did someone just sit around and think that up?"
They often think mathematics is just a bunch of facts – that it only has to do with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of numbers. In other words, they think it's all about arithmetic and being good at doing arithmetic in your head.
On the contrary, mathematics is about ideas. It is especially for those who are interested in asking deep questions, and working to find the answers. It is about thinking creatively, about trying things nobody has done before, about using your imagination.
There is a story about a mathematician, David Hilbert, who noticed that one of his students stopped attending class. When he was told that the student had decided to drop mathematics to become a poet, Hilbert replied, "Good – he did not have enough imagination to become a mathematician."