Everyone in high school has probably had a time when they are faced with a timing dilemma. Let’s say that a person has several homework assignments including long term projects as well as extracurricular activities. He or she has to plan, estimating the time it would take for each assignment, to finish all the work in time.
Unwittingly, he or she is using mathematics to diagram a schedule for success.
But how are these decisions math? Well, most people don’t think about it, but all choices are numerical operations. Choosing between chocolate ice cream and a cherry popsicle is an evaluation of the quantity of happiness each will provide weighed against the price and possible feelings of regret that might arise after eating either dessert. It’s just a system of equations that we intuitively know how to solve. The estimations of quantified happiness, price, and regret are statistics we have derived from the data of previous purchases. The amount of ice cream or popsicle in the irregular containers can be calculated with integrated volume with the density of the food. We simply estimate the mass based on the weight we feel after eating it.
To modify an infamous phrase, everything is math. We just don’t think about it much.