How much education does a mathematician need

How much math does education need?

Mathematics has now disappeared from the field of view of many educated people who can say without blushing that they do not understand anything about mathematical science. Where does that come from and how much math an educated person needs to know nowadays, answered Dr. Count von Wallwitz im »Thinking outside the box« on December 11, 2018.

Education is an attitude towards the world
Dr. Graf von Wallwitz is a mathematician as well as a philosopher, although he self-ironically describes himself as a "mathematics dilettante" because he is interested in mathematics in the field. His focus is on the question of how much mathematics an educated person of the 20th century needs to know. The definition of education that Dr. Graf von Wallwitz gave, is the maturation of a person in dealing with his environment or, as he quoted Goethe, that "education can be characterized as an attitude to the world". In any case, however, education is difficult and you have to make an effort to achieve something.

Very few people know about modern mathematicians
Count von Wallwitz is astonished that not many people today can name important mathematicians who were born after Carl Friedrich Gauß (* 1777). This means that names such as David Hilbert or Felix Klein are only known to very few people. Count von Wallwitz puzzles over which features will describe the 20th century in retrospect in 200-300 years, whether it is the variety and forms of ideologies or the question of where the mathematical and scientific boom came from.

Mathematics is a model for all areas of knowledge
Wallwitz justifies the importance of mathematics with the fact that mathematics is the language of nature and thus represents a part of education. For him, axiomatics is an important property of mathematics. It describes the basic ideas and the simplest building blocks from which the entire structure of mathematics can be logically derived. However, this should not be used to be superimposed on other areas of knowledge, but rather should encourage the formulation of axioms in each area of ​​knowledge.

History facilitates access to mathematics
In the current educational canon as defined by Dr. Graf von Wallwitz mentions, there are definitely some names of mathematicians of the 20th century, whereby the understanding of their fields of work can already be built on historical backgrounds. Because historical knowledge can open up access to mathematical achievements and connections much more easily.

About the speaker and the lecture series »Thinking outside the box«

Dr. Georg Graf von Wallwitz, born in 1968, studied mathematics in Freiburg and Exeter (GB) and received his doctorate in philosophy in Tübingen. He was then a visiting fellow at Princeton University (USA). He has been a fund manager since 1998, initially at DWS and since 2004 with his own company in Munich. He has published a number of scientific articles on philosophical topics (especially Leibniz and Fichte). He has written three books, most recently a biography of David Hilbert published by Berenberg-Verlag in 2017.

Once a month, the ITWM opens its doors to all interested parties and invites you to "think outside the box" to broaden your horizons together. The interdisciplinary lecture series of the Felix Klein Center for Mathematics presents different speakers with a wide variety of topics. Everyone is cordially invited to listen and join in the discussion. Admission is free.

Olivia Böck from Fraunhofer ITWM wrote the text.