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Alfred Nobel, the Swedish chemist who created the Nobel Prizes, did not include mathematics in his line of prestigious awards.

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Introduction

Alfred Nobel, the Swedish chemist who created the Nobel Prizes, did not include mathematics in his line of prestigious awards. He ranked the other disciplines in this order: physics, chemistry, physiology, and medicine. Because of this, the physics prize is always awarded first in the ceremony. In addition, if there is only one physics winner and he is a married man, his wife is allowed to sit on one side of the King of Sweden during the formal dinner. None of the other prize winners are allowed to do this. To this day, there is still no Nobel Prize for mathematics. What is the reason for this absence? Some say that Alfred Nobel left out mathematics because a Swedish mathematician by the name of Mittag-Leffler was winning the affections of a woman that he also favored. However there is no historical evidence of this as Mr. Nobel never married. Some people also say that there was a well-known Scandinavian prize for mathematics and Mr. ...read more.

Middle

Northrop Frye labels these as "languages of the imagination" for many reasons. Mathematics can be used to explain science. It can create models for the patterns that we observe in experiments, and therefore, can be seen as being in a class of its own. On the other hand however, one can also see mathematics as a science. If applied mathematics, or arithmetic, is used to model and solve real world problems, then theoretical or pure mathematics can be used to model and solve problems in imaginary worlds. It is a study of what might or could occur. In this way, mathematics can also be seen not only as a hypothetical science, but a fundamental one as well. What makes one discipline more fundamental than another? Paul Dirac, a renowned physicist stated that physics is more fundamental than chemistry and therefore can be used to explain it. He also said that if the laws of one science are based on the laws of a second science, than the second science can be seen as more fundamental. ...read more.

Conclusion

All three of these disciplines are fundamental and essential in order to describe and explain all other disciplines. For example, try explaining quantum-mechanics without the use of literature or language. Or try watching the world's best ballet dancers perform "Swan Lake"...without Tchaikovsky's music score. Or try explaining chemical equilibrium without math. It is impossible. All in all, regardless of whether we decide if pure mathematics is a science or not, or if it is more fundamental than others, it is ultimately irrelevant to the real world. Its language is comprehended by the few who dwell in the imaginary world of pure math, and its beauty admired by those who can actually see it. For the common layperson, the area of pure mathematics can never be fully understood. In fact, most people do not even know it exists. Most of us, including myself, are happy with the arithmetic that we learn in school and are content to leave the world of mathematics to the mathematicians out there. 1 http://www.almaz.com/nobel/ 2 Northrop Frye; The Educated Imagination 3 Ibid. 1 ...read more.

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