Are all mathematicians geeks?

By Mark O’Neill

I had to laugh at this one because to me, being viewed as a geek is probably not the only reason people don’t continue to study mathematics. I didn’t continue it because I sucked at it and my maths teacher begged me to leave her class before I forced her into a mental breakdown.

I have always adhered to the Billy Connolly philosophy when it comes to mathematics. He has always maintained that he has never seen the point of things like algebra and their practical use in the world. He famously told Conan O’Brien that the only two things that a school needs to teach kids today are “how to make money and how to get laid. Nothing else matters”. Conan choked on his coffee and the audience went into an uproar.

So do you agree with the study? Is it hard these days to get people to seriously study mathematics? Does the geek stereotype get in the way?

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10 Responses to Are all mathematicians geeks?

  1. Well I go to a tech school, and here even the engineering majors make fun of the math majors for being geeks :D

  2. Well I go to a tech school, and here even the engineering majors make fun of the math majors for being geeks :D

  3. No, it's not because of the stereotype that not many people choose to study mathematics. I think it's just because math isn't interesting enough for most people: it's way too abstract.

    The problem with math (and other sciences) is that in order to realise the importance and relevance to the real world, you need to break through that "outer shell" of complex, scary definitions and theorems and formulas. Few feel like doing that and those that do are most of the time the "geeks" of society…

    Claiming there's no point in teaching math is ridiculous. Withouth math, we would still be in the dark ages.

    • i don't think he meant not to teach math at all, but more like the upper level maths that are just ridiculously unnecessary.

      i hate math, failed calculus 2, but i consider myself a pretty geeky guy.

    • Sorry, I should have clarified more clearly in the article. Billy Connolly is a stand-up comedian. He was making a joke about mathematicians and algebra and also ridiculing his own terrible skills at math.

      He wasn't being serious in saying that math should be abolished or anything! It was just a comedy standup routine. :-)

  4. No, it’s not because of the stereotype that not many people choose to study mathematics. I think it’s just because math isn’t interesting enough for most people: it’s way too abstract.

    The problem with math (and other sciences) is that in order to realise the importance and relevance to the real world, you need to break through that “outer shell” of complex, scary definitions and theorems and formulas. Few feel like doing that and those that do are most of the time the “geeks” of society…

    Claiming there’s no point in teaching math is ridiculous. Withouth math, we would still be in the dark ages.

    • i don’t think he meant not to teach math at all, but more like the upper level maths that are just ridiculously unnecessary.

      i hate math, failed calculus 2, but i consider myself a pretty geeky guy.

    • Sorry, I should have clarified more clearly in the article. Billy Connolly is a stand-up comedian. He was making a joke about mathematicians and algebra and also ridiculing his own terrible skills at math.

      He wasn’t being serious in saying that math should be abolished or anything! It was just a comedy standup routine. :-)

  5. Maths is tough. I think that's what puts people off. I did a couple of first year uni maths papers, and while I sailed my way to A's in physics papers, I had to work my arse off and beg extra tutoring just to get B's in the maths papers. I hate Maths :(

  6. Maths is tough. I think that’s what puts people off. I did a couple of first year uni maths papers, and while I sailed my way to A’s in physics papers, I had to work my arse off and beg extra tutoring just to get B’s in the maths papers. I hate Maths :(

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