Though the study of Mathematics had occupied the attention of Egyptian and Greek scholars centuries ago, yet it was only after the advent of the Industrial Revolution that the importance of the subject was fully realised by scholars and educationists everywhere.
Today, Mathematics is one of the most important subjects in all the schools and universities of the world.
Before the Industrial Revolution, men lived very simple lives. Agriculture, hunting and fishing were then their main sources of livelihood. It did not occur to them that their lives could be made more comfortable if they only exercised their mental faculties a little more and organised a system of knowledge, which we now call the Science, and applied it to practical purposes. Thus, they turned to nature for sustenance, and were satisfied with what they could acquire from nature with their skills. This simple mode of existence was, however, disturbed by the inventions of a few men, sometime in the eighteenth century, which caused people everywhere to think of new ways of improving their conditions of living. The inventions revealed new sources of comfort, and power for the production of goods. Thus, the Industrial Revolution began. More and more machines were invented for the rapid production of goods, and the study of Mathematics began to receive great encouragement, for it was realised that machines function on mathematical principles.
Topic 61: The study of Mathematics
The intensive study of Mathematics revealed its potentialities. It was soon applied not only to invent new machinery but also to explain abstruse subjects such as Physics, Logic and many others. In fact, Mathematics is now used to teach and explain almost every important subject in schools and universities. Even the construction of buildings and bridges requires a deep knowledge of Mathematics.
The study of Mathematics has also helped to increase the mental powers of men. They are not only able to think more clearly than they could before but are also able to understand and explain many of the things which they could not understand earlier.
Sometimes, however, Mathematical principles have been applied for tragic consequences. In battles and wars, bombs and cannon-balls have been released with remarkable accuracy to destroy the enemy. This fact reveals how knowledge of Mathematics could be used to hinder human progress. But such a situation develops only when men have lost their patience and their capacity for compromise and fortunately the leaders of the world today are trying their utmost to remove the causes for war.
In general, however, men have a natural impulse to live in peace and harmony with others, and almost every invention is aimed at promoting the welfare of the peoples of the world. Thus, the human race has benefited from the efforts of those who have made the fullest use of Mathematical principles for all their inventions. I therefore agree that the study of Mathematics is essential to the progress of the human race.
1. the mental faculties: năng lực, trí tuệ
2. sustenance (n): chất bố, sự bổ dưỡng
3. encouragement (n): niềm khích lệ, niềm cổ vũ, niềm động viên
4. intensive (adj): chuyên sâu, cao độ, mạnh mẽ, sâu sắc, tập trung