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Is this statement regarding mathematics true? (yes basic)

  1. Feb 28, 2010 #1
    I'm clueless on mathematics and will soon begin the long road into its academic study. I saw this statement on the following website:
    http://everything2.com/title/the+difference+between+mathematics+and+physics

    the last poster says this:

    "sometimes mathematics makes assumptions different to what holds in the real world. If I draw a triangle around the sun, the angles will add up to more than 180° because gravity curves space. Mathematics works only within the assumptions you put into it."

    Is this true? Kind of goes against what I would assume is the purpose of mathematics (I thought mathematics was a expression of reality not dependent upon variables of reality?)

    Thanks, and yes I know this is basic!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2010 #2

    CRGreathouse

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    It's not really all that basic; no need to apologize. The poster appears to be talking about non-Euclidean geometries, specifically elliptic geometry. So yes, it's real.
     
  4. Mar 1, 2010 #3
    Thanks =)

    Well, that completely shattered any thoughts I had on mathematics haha
     
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