My partner has an MA in applied Mathematics,a few years of coding experience and is now getting his joint PhD in Optics and Math. Me – a Philosophy major, with a passion for languages and quirky literature expressions, along with rather basic understanding of what complex figures are and why do we even need differential equations. We make a perfect team together.
One of the things I’ve learned in our relationship is that the world of numbers is pretty fascinating, yet rather complex for everyone to understand. People who are great in Maths view the world from a different perspective. Here are 15 small things that you can relate to if you’ve dated someone with profound knowledge in Maths.
1. You learn a lot of new peculiar notions
Now I know how nonlinear dynamical systems function (in simple words); what chimera state is and how pure mathematics stands out from the rest. A simple question like “What are you working on right now?” can turn into an hour lecture about the subject. Surprisingly, I don’t get bored and in small steps try to realize the complexity behind a theory consisting of just one equation.
2. Your sense of humor evolves
As you learn new complex terms, you can now appreciate and laugh on very specific types of jokes – the maths ones. Eventually, you can even shoot back witty math puns of your own. Here’s one of my recent favorites:
“Two random variables were talking in a bar. They thought they were being discrete but I heard their chatter continuously”
Yep, not everyone will get it.
3. You don’t need to worry about analyzing the cost of anything
Your partner will take care of this – and even run a whole statistical analysis, including various data variables, multiple options and side factors and deliver you a fine report with pure actionable data at hand. Recently, we were planning to move to another city and I spent the whole afternoon researching various moving companies offering different price systems. I thought I’ll go nuts untill I found the best option when my partner came to rescue and ran a fast comparison in less than 30 minutes defining the best value for money deal.
4. They are devoted to mathematics
They are passionate about their science and their aspirations are truly admiring, but expect them to spend Saturday evening doing Maths instead of going social with your friends. Also, my partner loves getting up at 6 am, because he’s got an idea and just needs to test it. Luckily, he keeps things quiet. If they are in the zone, don’t expect them to react at any of your comments, requests and even urges.
5. They believe they are smart
They truly are, of course. But sometimes their firm belief that they are smarter than any other person expands into other areas except maths. Say biology, literature, social media trends, relationships and basically anything else even though they may not have much clue of what they are talking about.
6. They are your personal business consultant
Whereas I’m planning to re-work my freelance price grid, calculate the ROI of a new marketing campaign or finish filing my tax return, I have a powerful ally to consult with and get an expert opinion on the numbers. I can focus on what I’m good at while staying sure I’m doing ok in terms of income and taxes. Plus, a penny saved on professional accounting services.
7. They value function over form
Don’t expect them to dress fancy and follow fashion trends. They will always choose comfy functional clothes and in general pay few attention to what exactly they are wearing. I don’t mean socks of different colors, but I typically point out to my partner that he should look fancier today because we have been invited to that type of party.
8. They often don’t notice things around them
Like a new piece of decor, new couch, your new hairstyle or other small (or not that small) changes of the environment around them. A story from a fellow couple – she sold his old car that was parked in the yard and he noticed that only six month later after a comment from the neighbour. Sometimes mathematicians stay absolutely indifferent to trivial stuff outside their numbers world.
9. Their magazine subscriptions are pricey
They need to read top scientific magazines to keep an eye on the new theories and competitors working in the same field. The math world can also be cruel in terms of competition. But the subscription price tag leaves me pre-occupied each time it’s time to pay the bills. Physical Review Letters – $795.00 per year for paper copies; Nature – $199.00 per year and don’t get me started on others. The good news – I no longer feel guilty for blowing away $108 per year for Netflix.
10. They are probably introverts
This doesn’t mean they love living like hermits, but don’t expect them to hang out with your friends every other Friday or go wild on parties. They value their privacy and enjoy being in their secure social bubble. Expect to have more romantic nights in together or get togethers in small company. You should remember these things if you’re in love with an introvert.
11. You will embarrass yourself once in awhile
Because you didn’t know that SOHCAHTOA stands for sin = opposite/hypotenuse, cos = adj/hypotenuse, tan = opposite/adj and is not some sort of African greeting. Or because you couldn’t remember immediately the Pythagorean theorem at 1 am in the morning when you were going to bed. You’ll get that surprised look, but they will not love you less because of that. Nevertheless, you should be prepared for such awkward stuff.
12. They are open and direct
They will say exactly what they think. Sometimes it’s cool as you know they won’t play any stupid mind games with you. On the other hand, this straightforwardness can get a bit offensive and can even be considered rude by other people. Including you.
13. You have paper lying around everywhere
Their desk is covered with papers, stickers and notes left on various clutters. So does the kitchen table, sofa, bathroom and a lot of other places around the house where they’ve settled to work today. And don’t you even think of throwing away or mixing anything! You can destroy a new revolutionary theory proof by accident!
14. They need your care
While getting obsessed with the latest things they’ve been working on, math people can totally forget about buying food, washing the dishes, taking the dog out or doing the laundry. It’s not like they are unreliable or lazy, they just don’t want to waste their precious time on such small things. If you live together, you’ll have to take care of them most of the times, not the opposite.
15. You will always admire them
Despite their quirks and odd habits, you will always admire the way how their brains function and how easily they can crack seemingly difficult questions. Even though you may not completely understand what exactly are they working on, you do know they are up-to something remarkable. Who knows, maybe your kids will study a theorem with their name on it someday.