*Macmillan Science Library: Mathematics*. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.

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## From Truth to Application

The mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell said that math is "the subject in which we never know what we are talking about nor whether what we are saying is true." Mathematics, in its purest form, is a system that is complete in itself, without worrying about whether it is useful or true.

Mathematical truth is not based on experience but on inner consistency within the system. Yet, at the same time, mathematics has many important practical applications in every facet of life, including computers, space exploration, engineering, physics, and economics and commerce.

In fact, mathematics and its applications have, throughout history, been inextricably intertwined. For example, mathematicians knew about **binary arithmetic**, using only the digits 0 and 1, for years before this knowledge became practical in computers to describe switches that are either off (0) or on (1). Gamblers playing games of chance led to the development...

This section contains 982 words(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page) |