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MIT student blogger Cydnie T. '12

Guest Blog: Math. by Joy ‘13 by Cydnie T. '12

I’m not a complete nerd…but I am convinced that math is a language


I’m not a complete nerd…but I am convinced that math is a language. And it’s the only language that all of us in the world understand. it’s key elements are one of my favorite things–numbers. Having that knowledge…we are almost like the people of Babylon. We are able to communicate successfully through this world using what we all know.

Even though we have different “names” in our respective languages for our numbers…all around the world, we understand what it means, when that certain set of 10 digits is written out: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. And from this we can form different combinations using these digits to express a manner of things.

For one, all this course 6 stuff is making me realize just how important binary relations are. It’s the way that our computers can interpret what we are trying to convey. In a sense, making it possible for us to make any word compressed down to numbers. Not only that, but numbers are very important to our form of communication. The web addresses we need to connect to is a composition of numbers.

In general, when we need to get in contact with someone on the phone…we have a phone number. While we tend to not memorize those phone numbers as often anymore, there are still a few of the important ones engrained in our memory. And those ones in our memory are themselves based off the theory that we tend to chunk these by the amount of digits we can commit to our long term memory. Therfore, in writing out these numbers, we do it by (XXX)-(aaa)-(bbbb), a set of x’s determining the location of where we are in the world, the area connecting to a number which is also placed on a map by the degrees of longitude and latitude in this world. Those regional places are based off mathematical relations of a sphere, and our relation to one another from the center of this sphere. The “a”‘s then determine our region, or city area, the way the country of county we reside in is divided in. And finally, we have the last four digits which is unique to our specific person. It’s crazy the way we can connect with numbers. Even on a given street, we are unique in our “assigned number.”

Not only this, but we are forced to use numbers every day and every moment. We need numbers for the time. We need it for money. We even need it to count how many pieces of paper we have, How many shoes we have, how many pens we have, how many siblings we have…whatever it is. We need numbers.

For music. The number of beats in a song is regulated by the number of beats per minute. The notes played out work on the circle of 5ths. Again, based off math. No wonder they say there’s a strong correlation to being able to read music and doing well in math. On the music part, one of the coolest things I heard was here:

Absolutely beautifully. And this was all done…based off of numbers.

I think that’s one of the greatest things about being at MIT. We learn a lot about how to use these numbers. We know the buildings by their number. We know every course by it’s number. And within those courses, we know the classes by their decimal, allowing us to be able to distinguish an intro class from a higher-level, fast paced course.

Not only that…but we all have our ID number’s . 9 numbers unique to us. The same way the government ID’s us with a social security number. And because there are an infinitesimal amount of numbers, we will never be able to grow old of using this language of math.

Clearly…God is a genius. He knew how this would play out. He knows the power of numbers. He created a partner for Adam so that there would be a “pair”, and things would be even–creating even numbers. On bringing the animals unto the ark, he had 2 (evenly), of every unclean animal, and 7 (God’s number) of every clean animal. He marked Satan’s number as 6, always a step below his own. He feeds the five thousand…with two fish and 5 loaves of bread. Both numbers which are multiples of that 5,000–which can be broken down into 5000/2 = 2500 *2= 100 *2*(5^2)=2*5*2*5*2*(5^2). I don’t know how powerful it is to you…but I think it’s amazing the way that that number of people he fed, is able to be broken down into numbers comprising of just the 2 [fish] and 5 [loaves]. Even the plagues he had–10 before it was complete. 10 can be broken down into a multiplication of 2 and 5…which sum themselves to 7, God’s number.

Even in the body…we have two eyes. To ears. Two legs. And on our hands and feet, we have five fingers. Five toes. coincidence with the numbers? I think not. Even beyond this, our body is regulated by numbers. If our heart rate goes below a certain rate, we are no longer alive. If our blood pressure is at a certain level…we die. Even our blood concentration, if it’s pH is outside of the range 7.2-7.4…we die. Is it really coincidental that a neutral pH is at 7? Is it just coincident that our whole body, the way it operates, is comprised of a system of trying to keep our body in equilibrium…by regulating rates?

The time that goes by. 7 days a week. 5 weekdays. 2 weekend days. Just by chance?
Even the 60 seconds in 1 minute = 2*(5-2)*(5*2).

God continually says in the bible–God is love. The chapter on Love, (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7). 1 Corinthians = 7th book of the new testament. 13th chapter =7 + (5-2)*2 = (5+2) + (5-2)*2. Verses 4-7 =4: (2*2), 5: 5, 6: (5-2)*2, 7: (5+2).

You tell me…is this all really just random?

It’s like…he knew that numbers could connect us. And just as he’s an everlasting God, he knows that the numbers are also everlasting. The planets, he created them to be a connected circle. And a circle….is one everlasting line, with no corners or other segments. That itself is unique.

I don’t know how else to say it other than that. It’s amazing. Math as a language–is amazing. And it’s only another reflection of how amazing God is.

I’m in awe. Utmostly, and fully in awe.



30 responses to “Guest Blog: Math. by Joy ‘13”

  1. @anon –

    It’s clear that you’re a good writer but I don’t appreciate the religion in the blog that’s supposed to be about math.

    I assume by “blog” you mean “this blog entry.” But in reality, the MIT Admissions blogs aren’t “about” math, or research, or admissions, or anything else in particular. They are – at least for student blogs – about the experiences of MIT students and how they make sense of the world.

    Joy’s point of view is one not often expressed on our blogs – not because we ask the bloggers to avoid issues of faith or deep personal import, but simply because many of our bloggers don’t have the same relationship with a religious faith that Joy does, and thus do not experience the world from the same perspective she does.

    I’m happy Joy shared this blog with us because it brings a perspective we don’t often see on the blogs to the blogs. Will most MIT students share Joy’s perspective? Probably not. But there are others who do, including perhaps prospective students, and I think it is important for our blogs to showcase diverse experiences, perspectives, thoughts, and beliefs, as diverse as those of the MIT student community itself.

  2. Naga says:

    awesome post cydnie. And yep! He is truely amazing and gracious:) May He bless you abundantly.

  3. Ope says:

    I absolutely love this. Its crazy and amazing how God is and how math is a reflection of that. And God used Joy to help me see that smile

  4. rfong'12 says:

    @Joy: no comment on your views, but just FYI, mathematics is entirely human-generated. just as much as:
    – computer architecture
    – computer science
    – the arbitrary partitioning of the pH scale
    – our decision that five weekdays and two weekends was convenient for work efficiency
    – the guy who numbered the verses in the Bible when he conglomerated them from the original texts

  5. rfong'12 says:

    i mean, Joshua (book 6) 6:6 is about praising God, but that’s pretty coincidental.

  6. Joy '13 says:

    @Chris: Exactly. Thank you smile

    @rfong’12: I appreciate your opinions. But again, as expressed in my blog, I don’t agree that math is entirely human-generated. I do believe that we have mastered the way to utilize it in order to create things like computer science, computer architecture, etc. But I don’t really believe we created it. To your “week” reference, by my faith…I do believe the first week was the week of creation. And lastly, on the verse, I don’t believe that every verse will line up. But I do believe that it’s significant that it is repeated in the bible many times, that God is love, and it’s special that the passage on love happens to fall there.

    But thanks to all on the comments and opinions smile

  7. Alexandra P says:

    That was…so so beautiful.

  8. anon says:

    I was into it at first, but then it just goes on and rants about how god is perfect and how you can make about any number with 5 and 2 and 7. This isn’t divine or coincidence. It’s because (5-2-2) = 1 and you can get anywhere with that.

    It’s clear that you’re a good writer but I don’t appreciate the religion in the blog that’s supposed to be about math.

  9. Chelsi says:

    I love it.

    And to anon…I think that math means more than just math for different people. Just as she associated music to math earlier in her blog, she made that association with religion, and though I may not agree with it…it is definitely just as valid of a viewpoint

  10. Michael says:

    Very interesting! I had never looked at some of those passages from a mathematical stance before. I for one think it’s interesting to hear how people relate science (or math, in this case) and faith.

    A blog is a personal piece, and as such, it makes no sense for the author to negate some part of her personhood just because she is talking about math. One could not appreciate the diversity that MIT offers if all the bloggers did was speak in a scholarly fashion. There are books for that. Blogs are for learning through the experience of others, and that’s why the admissions blogs are so interesting, because MIT is an interesting place comprised of interesting people.

  11. Chelsi says:

    That was really refreshing.

    And to anon…I think that math means more than just math for different people. Just as she associated music to math earlier in her blog, she made that association with religion, and though I may not agree with it…it is definitely just as valid of a viewpoint

  12. '12 says:

    Infinitesimal: it does not mean what you think it means.

  13. Chelsi says:

    Shooot…I definitely did not mean to post that twice…sorry!

    Lol, I did a backspace thing, and a cancel…fail

    P.S. Miss Joy…you are a nerd :p

  14. Anonymous says:


    Cult of Pythagoras much?

  15. Anonymous says:

    To clarify what I said above, I’m just saying that a lot of human-generated scales may be pretty arbitrary, as rfong mentioned. But to each his own.

  16. Well, I love to see someone who appreciates the power and beauty and structure of God’s wonderful Creation and who’s not afraid to post it.

    Thank you, Joy.

  17. Sammy '15 says:

    Thank you so much for your beautiful post. This encourages me so much, as I am planning to come to MIT in the fall and worry that the appreciation of God is lost in intellect far too often in savants, such as those at MIT. The wonders of math or biology, for me, reveal all that much more the beauty and infinite complexity and design of God. I can see his work in biology, and you revealed it to me in math. And for that, I thank you.

  18. mouse says:

    @ Chris Peterson: “…a perspective we don’t often see on the blogs to the blogs. Will most MIT students share Joy’s perspective? Probably not”

    Hmm, so are majority of MIT students atheists? If so, this is another thing I’m gonna miss, not being admitted. Sigh

  19. mouse says:

    @:rfong’12 I agree with you
    Numbers are nothing but a mathematical construct; they have absolutely NO physical significance in the absence of sentient and intellectual creatures (us), and yet, the universe, the planets, and cockroaches would continue to go about their business as usual. Had we been born with 16 fingers instead of 10 due to some genetic mutation in the history of evolution, the almighty decimal system would then have been as useless as the hexadecimal system now is in our daily life.
    And given any number system, a significant number of ‘coincidences’ have no choice but to arise, if you choose to overlook the overwhelmingly outnumbering instances where such connections are absent. Logically speaking, it would be a miracle if such ‘signs’ NEVER occurred.

  20. Get Real says:

    I believe in God as well, but your attempts to explain simple mathematical concepts through religion reflect poorly on us Followers.. thats not what religion is about

  21. Phoebe '15 says:

    It’s possible that Mr. Peterson meant that the majority of MIT students would not choose to see mathematics as an expression of God’s will as Joy does, rather than that believers were in the minority. (And I mean believers to be of any religion.)

  22. @Chris

    I don’t mean to say that I believe Joy shouldn’t be able to post her views on faith and math, just that, since she titled the blog post “Math”, I was not expecting the religion to come in strongly. I wouldn’t have read it had I known.

  23. Nely'13 says:

    @rfong’12: Even though mathematics and engineering might be human-generated, humans are “God-generated”; and just as we understand and sometimes decide what our inventions do, God does the same with His creation.
    Also,”arbitrary” and “random” are words we use when we don’t understand why things happen the way they do; that doesn’t mean there is not a reason behind them.
    And about Joshua 6:6, I say that before falling, Lucifer(Satan) was an angel created to praise and worship God. Even he knows the power of God.

    We can look at the things in this world from multiple point of views that are equally valid. But it’s only when you accept God in your life that he opens your eyes and lets you see his glory, even in the little things of life that we ignore, take for granted or don’t understand.
    I think it’s great that God lets Joy see Him in a field that we might sometimes think excludes Him.

  24. psycho '12 says:

    I think we’re all suffering from a little bit of patternicity, which is not surprising since we’re all human.

    Also, the pH scale is not arbitrary. It is derived, and it is not coincidental that neutral pH is 7 (I suggest looking up “ion product of water”). That said, it is not amazing that the body’s pH is approximately 7 (but not exactly 7, and remember that pH is a log scale, so a pH range of .2 is actually a much larger difference in acidity than you think). Other organisms (i.e. thermoacidophiles) require the pH to be around 3. Just because our pH range is around 7, that is nothing special.

    I’m glad that you have found meaning in the world, but I suggest using different examples (and maybe checking your grammar) when trying to share your amazement with others.

  25. Nely'13 says:

    Again, what is “special” depends on a person’s personal point of view. And I don’t think that humans designed the pH scale specifically so that our body’s pH would fall at 7. Just as we recognize patterns in our scientific experiments, this is just another pattern that Joy noticed. Why fuss over it? Because it is related to God?

    I apologize if my poor grammar irritates you, but I am grateful to God for being able to express myself in a language that I learned about 2 years ago.

  26. Nely'13 says:

    Oops, ignore the last two lignes.

  27. Nely'13 says:

    Oops, ignore the last two lines.

  28. Nely'13 says:

    Oops, ignore the last two lines.

  29. Nely'13 says:

    Didn’t mean to post it thrice.