## Archive for January 19, 2014

### If Martin Luther King, Jr., Were a Mathematician

I have a dream that one day all nations will use mathematics for good, not only to impose a tax on the mathematically illiterate with state-run lotteries, but to make efficient use of scarce resources to feed the homeless, to build effective levees, and — God willing — to create lemonade that stays cold without ice cubes.

I have a dream that one day at Georgia Polytechnic Institute, the sons of algebraists and the daughters of geometers will be able to sit down together and understand one another.

I have a dream that one day even the University of Mississippi, an institution whose professors forbid the use of graphing calculators on final exams, will be transformed by the methods of Laplace and Fourier.

I have a dream that my children will not be judged by the color of their skin or the tuition paid for their private school education, but by their ability to recite the digits of π to a thousand decimal places.

I have a *dream* today!

I have a dream that one day, at the University of Alabama, with all of its numerical analysts, with its math department chairs speaking words like *interpolation* and *null hypothesis* — that one day, right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and ask each other, “Why is 6 afraid of 7?” or “What do you call a two-headed canary?” or “What is the square root of 69?”

I have a *dream* today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be parabolic, and every mountain shall be conical, the rough places will be transformed to smooth surfaces, and the crooked curves will be made linear; and the glory of mathematics shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.