April 26 Day 49: Love Letters

Dear Mathematics,

I am more grateful than you can know that you are a part of my life. You make my pulse race when a solution is revealed. You inspire me towards creativity and persistence. You provided the foundation upon which I built my career. And you bring comfort—even when I don’t know that is what I need.

Yesterday’s post was a personal rant written in a moment of frustration, irritability, anxiety, and self-doubt. A beautiful spring day was resentfully experienced from a distance as I slogged through volumes of grading (produced from emergency remote teaching, standards-based assessments, and a writing-intensive course). I wasn’t expecting anything from the post but the mathematics community, our community, responded with validation, appreciation, empathy, and support. So thank you. The bitter feelings have dissipated and I will continue on my current path, appreciating the opportunities to have a positive mathematical impact.

Yet my issues are insignificant compared to others who have found comfort in your logical embrace. Veronica G. Sine might not consider her recent article, The Healing Powers of Mathematics in the Age of #metoo a love letter to mathematics, but I do. In it, she describes how you have given her strength to cope with trauma. There is a content warning; this article is not for the feint of heart but it is a love letter none-the-less.

“Mathematics has been a source of comfort to me over the years, first as I navigated through a particularly traumatic time, and then in my years of recovery. I feel lucky to have found solace in math to help me through some difficult experiences.”

From Sine, V. G. “The Healing Powers of Mathematics in the Age of #metoo,” Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 10 Issue 1 (January 2020), pages 364-367. DOI: 10.5642/jhummath.202001.17 . Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol10/iss1/17

The full impact and injury to society of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be seen but I know that you, Mathematics, and the community that celebrates all that you are will provide strength and comfort to its members in need.

In love and appreciation,


Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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