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Some species were better in mathematics than others. The Qomar in particular were a species of mathematicians, to the point that the number of digits of Pi one could calculate was of social interest on their homeworld. Taresians also claimed to have a gift for math. (VOY: "Virtuoso", "Favorite Son") Vulcan brain waves were described as "mathematically perfect" by Leonard McCoy. (TOS: "The Squire of Gothos") Perhaps aware of this fact, Charles Tucker once commented that he would be the last to question T'Pol's mathematics. (ENT: "Carbon Creek")
Math was a powerful tool with broad applications in science and engineering. A holographic representation of Leonardo da Vinci already noted that a bird was just a mechanical instrument ruled by mathematical laws. From this he theorized that he too could build a flying machine. During the 20th century, Jack wanted to study mathematics in college so that he could go into mechanical engineering. (ENT: "Carbon Creek")
Nella Daren tried to predict how an emerging star system would look in two million years using a mathematical model. A mathematical probability of three million inhabitable planets in the galaxy was suggested by Leonard McCoy.
Two of Nine (real name Lansor) also recalled working with mathematics and equations before he became a Borg drone. (VOY: "Survival Instinct") A more tragical application of mathematics was in the Eminiar-Vendikar War, where computers used mathematical models to select casualties.
Some problems were beyond the possibilities of mathematics. For example, the Traveler told Wesley Crusher that in order to free his mother, Beverly Crusher, from a static warp bubble, they had to leave the equations behind and go beyond mathematics. (TNG: "Remember Me")
According to the great linguist Hoshi Sato, math was just another language, a view she demonstrated by easily decrypting the locking sequence to a decontamination chamber. (ENT: "Observer Effect") Indeed, math could be key to establishing communications with alien civilizations; When attempting to communicate with the USS Enterprise, Nomad sent out a mathematical message, requesting language equivalence as a basis for learning how to communicate with the ship. (TOS: "The Changeling")
Similarly, the pre-warp inhabitants of a Weird Planet Displaced in Time in the Delta Quadrant attempted to use math to communicate with a sky ship trapped in their planet's orbit. (VOY: "Blink of an Eye") Jean-Luc Picard also tried to demonstrate his knowledge of math when he found himself captured by an unseen species. (TNG: "Allegiance")
Due to its importance, math was widely taught to children in the Federation and other civilizations. Keiko O'Brien considered it her job as a teacher to open children's minds to, amongst other things, mathematics. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets") When Uhura was undergoing the process of re-educating herself, Nurse Christine Chapel commented on her progress, saying that the communications officer "seems to have an aptitude for mathematics." (TOS: "The Changeling")
Some children enjoyed math more than others. While Kathryn Janeway kept solving math problems even while other children were playing, William T. Riker spent many math classes dreaming of being on a starship. Even so, Janeway claimed to still have nightmares about her calculus classes at Starfleet Academy years later. (TNG: "The Royale", VOY: "Relativity") Joshua Albert also struggled with math while at the Academy. (TNG: "The First Duty")
Dr. Arik Soong taught his augments math, and once had held Lokesh back in the subject. In 2154, Soong expressed disbelief of his earlier action when the Augment explained a complicated algorithm he was creating. (ENT: "Cold Station 12")
While playing Lucille Davenport in the holonovel Janeway Lambda one, Kathryn Janeway assured Henry Burleigh that he'll find her mathematics and sciences lessons very challenging, after he doubted she could teach him because of her incomplete knowledge of Latin. (VOY: "Learning Curve") According to his his daughter, mathematics was never one of Forra Gegen's strong points. (VOY: "Distant Origin")
While some considered mathematics boring, it also inspired great passion in many people. Earth astronomer Tycho Brahe lost his nose in a duel over a math equation. (ENT: "The Andorian Incident") . Stano Riga, thought to be one of the greatest comedians, specialized in jokes about Quantum mathematics. (TNG: "The Outrageous Okona")
Jean-Luc Picard enjoyed trying to prove Fermat's last theorem, because to him "it puts things in perspective," clarifying that, "in our arrogance, we feel we are so advanced, and yet we cannot unravel a simple knot tied by a part-time French mathematician, working alone, without a computer." (TNG: "The Royale")
Fields of mathematicsEdit
- Keiko O'Brien
- Admiral Patterson
- Yedrin Dax
- Arik Soong
- Kathryn Janeway (recreational, in a holonovel)