Re: Math and all that

Mon, 17 Apr 1995 09:40:06 CST

J. McCreery is right that math can be important to anthropologists, and
that most of us can learn more math than we might think, given
sufficient motivation (as A. Petto stressed). I was unable to make any
sense, really, of calculus when I had a semester of it as an
undergraduate. But when I returned to it around fifteen years later, I
had a strong motivation because I thought it could help formulate
population-pressure theories of cultural evolution in rigorous terms.
With a bit more maturity and a lot more motivation, I was able, this
time around, to grasp and use it at an elementary level. Einstein is
said to have assured a frustrated young physicist that whatever the
latter's difficulties with math, his own--Eistein's--were greater yet.
--Bob Graber