A student asks: why do you love maths so much?

A question I don’t remember ever having been asked before:

Why do you love maths so much?

It’s a really hard question to answer – if you asked someone why they like music or football, they’d probably shrug and say ‘I just do!’

There are loads of things I love about maths – on one hand, it’s this brilliant, creative game that’s completely limitless and at the same time very strict about what you can do; and on the other, it’s a huge set of tools you can use to understand the world better.

I love that you can do it anywhere, on restaurant napkins, in the margins of newspapers someone’s left on the train, on envelopes, even (once, and for reasons I can’t really remember) using fridge magnets.

I love battling against a puzzle until I find a solution, getting completely lost in different approaches, finding mistakes, putting them right, scratching my head, getting a flash of insight, realising I’m making it too complicated, simplifying…

But above all, I love the neatness of it – when a puzzle finally drops into place, or you spot a pattern you’ve seen somewhere before, and it all ties together like a detective novel…

It’s glorious. And there’s always another episode just around the corner.

Colin

Colin is a Weymouth maths tutor, author of several Maths For Dummies books and A-level maths guides. He started Flying Colours Maths in 2008.

He lives with an espresso pot and nothing to prove.

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I teach in my home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth.

It's a 15-minute walk from Weymouth station, and it's on bus routes 3, 8 and X53. On-road parking is available nearby.

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