Language ≥ Math


Image by Chuk Yong from Pixabay

A near-exact replica of your average MTU blackboard.

Maia Barnhart and Weston Early

Welcome back, MTU students! I’m sure you’re all so excited to get to wander the campus again, to gaze adoringly up at the questionably phallic shape of the MEEM and get swept away in the wind vortex of the main paths. It’s a thrilling time of year.

Statistically speaking, you, dear reader, are either a student or professor of one of our wonderful and well-funded STEM programs. This means that you probably work with a fair amount of math. I would even go so far as to wager that you consider math to be rather important. 

Historically speaking, math has been used to describe, communicate, and accurately predict the outcomes of events in the physical world, among other things. Math enables us to properly communicate and predict outcomes of experiments in meaningful ways. Additionally, it builds deeper understandings of why the outcomes are observed. There also exist many branches of mathematics that do not have much, if any, use in the real world and yet still reserve their importance in the education/research division of humanity. We obviously find mathematics and other similar branches of STEM extremely important in order to maintain humanity’s progress towards a prosperous and technologically advanced future, but what would you say if I told you that math isn’t everything? That math cannot, in fact, solve everything? 

Want to calculate the energy usage trends of a city and determine how much power needs to be delivered on an hourly basis? Use math. Want to determine the right amount of solvent needed to fully dissolve a compound? Chemistry can help (which is pretty much just math with pictures). Need to figure out how much weight a bridge can hold before experiencing catastrophic failure? Math the hell out of that. Want to bridge cultural divides in order to formulate a global system of communication that can be agreed upon everywhere? MATH. 


This is what we, in the language department, refer to as a joke. Obviously math cannot solve that last one. 

Language has the capacity to solve problems that math can’t even fully describe. Just to be safe though, we’d like to note that we are referring to math as we know it today and for the foreseeable future. Who knows what might happen down the road. However, at this point in time, language can illuminate and resolve issues that cannot be addressed solely mathematically. There is just an undeniable flexibility to linguistic expression which is impossible to recreate mathematically. 

If you disagree with this, please email us at The Lode. We’d love to debate with you!