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Success in Mathematics and Future Success

Asked by Steve Bechtold, teacher, Blackduck on November 27, 1997:
I heard a blurb on the raio about 6 weeks ago about a study relating high school math success to future successes, like a much greater income. I thought I would read some published reprot but I have been unable to locate anything. Did anyone else hear this and get more details? For motivational reasons I am interested in this study, I think my students would work harder. thank you.
From Mr. Alexandru Pintilie, Bayview Glen School on February 12, 1998:
I have read a 2000 years old "published report" on this topic. One of Euclid's pupils complained that learning theorems was pointless - they were of no practical value. Euclid comanded a slave to give the boy a coin so he could make a profit from studying geometry.

Apart from its aesthetic value and its influence on one's capability to think, there is no benefit whatsoever in studying mathematics.

From Philip Spencer, University of Toronto on February 13, 1998:
But I would argue that those benefits you mention--especially the influence on one's capability to think--are enormous and do have a profound impact on a very wide variety of complex tasks, even ones that are not "mathematical" at first glance. I would not be surprised at all to hear that this translated into greater employability in today's world where many jobs require analytical skills (something that would not have been true in Euclid's day when most paid employment would have been manual in nature).

I am unacquainted with the study the first poster referred to. I do know, however, that many mathematicians in these days of government cutbacks to academic funding are finding extremely lucrative positions in industry, particularly in the financial world (mathematical finance is a very hot topic these days).

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