Mathematics includes the study of such topics as quantity, structure, space, and change. Mathematicians seek and use patterns to formulate new conjectures; they resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proof
It’s perhaps strange that for a subject that relies so strongly on mathematical proof, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to answering the question, “what is mathematics?” Aristotle defined mathematics as “the science of quantity”, while Isidore Auguste Comte preferred calling it “the science of indirect measurement” and Benjamin Peirce “the science that draws necessary conclusions”.
The answer changes depending on the philosophical stance of the definer, and on the branch of mathematics s/he wishes to focus on. And, as new branches of mathematics are discovered and developed, the definition also continues to develop, adapt and change accordingly.
This is all, of course, part of the appeal of mathematics degrees. Follow our guide to find out more about the world’s top universities for mathematics, high-level mathematics topics and potential careers with a mathematics degree.