Is Mathematics a Science?

Many people do not regard mathematics as a science since it does not directly probe our physical reality; some mathematicians even like to think about mathematics as being closer to art, music or literature. But is there really a big difference between exploring the physical reality and exploring the logical/mathematical reality?

It is perhaps too early to have an open discussion thread on this blog but let me try anyway. What do you think? Is mathematics a science?

(This post was influenced by a recent post on Peter Woit’s blog where he referred to an article by Robert Matthews entitled: “Do we need to change the definition of Science?”)

 Updates: (June 18; June 30 ) A related very successful discussion titled “What is Purity” is taking place over “Secret Blogging Seminar”. Ben Webster made the point: “And I think one of the key points here is this: mathematics is not science.” And there is a related post with Sylvester’s writing on this matter in Kowalski’s blog.


5 thoughts on “Is Mathematics a Science?

  1. anon

    Prof Kalai,

    Would like to know what your views are regarding the statement of V.I.Arnold reproduced below from his essay titled On teaching Mathematics

    “Mathematics is a part of physics. Physics is an experimental science, a part of natural science. Mathematics is the part of physics where experiments are cheap.”

    The essay is available at


  2. Pingback: Updates and plans III. | Combinatorics and more

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