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Mathematics relies on both logic and creativity, and it is pursued both for a variety of practical purposes and for its intrinsic interest. For some people, and not only professional mathematicians, the essence of mathematics lies in its beauty and its intellectual challenge. For others, including many scientists and engineers, the chief value of mathematics is how it applies to their own work. Because mathematics plays such a central role in modern culture, some basic understanding of the nature of mathematics is requisite for scientific literacy. To achieve this, students need to perceive mathematics as part of the scientific endeavor, comprehend the nature of mathematical thinking, and become familiar with key mathematical ideas and skills.
This chapter focuses on mathematics as part of the scientific endeavor and then on mathematics as a process, or way of thinking.
>From SCIENCE FOR ALL AMERICANS by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Copyright (c) 1989, 1990 by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Used by permission of Oxford University Press, Inc.