What do mathematicians actually do?

Lovely article by Martin Krieger explaining what mathematicians actually do: http://www.ams.org/notices/200410/comm-krieger.pdf

“So when you are asked, What do mathematicians do?, you can say: I like to think we are just like lawyers or philosophers who explore the meanings of our everyday concepts, we are like inventors who employ analogies to solve problems, and we are like marketers who try to convince others they ought to think “Kodak” when they hear “photography” (or the competition, who try to convince them that they ought to think “Fuji”). Moreover, some of the time, our work is not unlike solving a two-thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, all in one color.  That surely involves lots of scut work, but also ingenuity along the way in dividing up the work, sorting the pieces, and knowing that it often makes sense to build the border first.”

 

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