Does becoming a scientist require you to love math?

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  • Thread starter StJohnRiver
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  • #1
StJohnRiver
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I know how to do math. I understand its complexities and the elegance of mathematical models. Sometimes I even admire it. However I don't have a particular love for mathematics and consider it only as a tool. I am looking forward to become a neuroscientist. Would this lack of love for math precludes me from ever becoming a successful scientist?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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Nope. As long as you understand the need for it and its usefulness and are perfectly capable of applying it, you don't need any extra love for it as a field.
 
  • #3
lisab
Staff Emeritus
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It helps if you think it's pretty cool, though.
 
  • #4
Dens
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lack of love is okay, but hate for it is not
 
  • #5
atyy
Science Advisor
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Maths in neurobiology is very elementary, and it is far more important to know how to apply the tools with common sense, than it is to use elegant but irrelevant mathematics. "All models are wrong, but some are useful".
 
  • #6
StJohnRiver
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I like math and would like to enjoy it more. It's just that I can be terrible sometimes, especially with word problems.But I do see the importance of mathematics
 
  • #7
atyy
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Word problems are pretty basic, and you must master them.
 
  • #8
camjohn
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You're totally fine. Just master the fundamentals and know how to apply them.
 
  • #9
clope023
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No, a friend of mine is doing his phd in theoretical physics and he hates math.
 
  • #10
salzrah
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Michael Faraday, one of the founding fathers of electromagnetism, was said to be "math illiterate." However, I think science and math coexist, both being tools. Science is a tool for understanding patterns that arise from numerical data, but math can be a tool for quantifying observable phenomena/scientific ideas. As long as you are comfortable with using math I see no reason why you shouldn't be successful. If I were you, I would look up what type of work neuroscientists do (however open-ended it may sound) and determine yourself if you would feel good about doing those things.
 
  • #11
MojoMcGunner
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No, as long as you understand and appreciate maths I don't think there's a need for you to be particularly passionate about it. I personally do enjoy maths very much, which is helpful because I like to play with equations which sometimes leads to simplifications, or to me noticing interesting parallels between areas. But that doesn't really mean I have a great advantage over those who use it as a tool alone.

I am not very interested in computers, and I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject except for being able to use the necessary programmes adequately. It's swings and roundabouts, different people's interests give them advantages in different areas, but as long as you cover all the bases in all of them, you really don't need to have an outside interest in them.

Incidentally, whilst maths is crucial for physics, you say you want to be a neuroscientist. I have a friend with a degree in Biomedicine and her maths skills are really quite poor, she only learns things as she absolutely needs to know them and has no interest in furthering them more than necessary. So I think that as you get away from physics and more towards the biological end of the science spectrum, it becomes less and less important for you to regularly use mathematical tools in your work and studies.
 

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