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Is mathematics real? A viral TikTok video raises a legitimate question with exciting answers

While filming herself getting ready for work recently, TikTok user @gracie.ham reached deep into the ancient foundations of mathematics and found an absolute gem of a question: How could someone come up with a concept like algebra?

She also asked what the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras might have used mathematics for, and other questions that revolve around the age-old conundrum of whether mathematics is “real” or something humans just made up.

Many responded negatively to the post, but others — including mathematicians like me — found the questions quite insightful.

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September 16, 2020
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