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Not sure if my EPQ idea is suitable (given the nature of the qualification). watch

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    Hi.

    I want to do something mathematical for my EPQ; the problem here is that mathematical topics tend to have definitive answers and thus lack any 'pro/con' evaluation and argument that the EPQ demands.

    My initial idea is something along the lines of 'Is pure mathematical research economically justified?' as a lot of people criticise pure mathematics to be useless when compared to the applied section of mathematics (i.e. the applications of maths in physics, economics etc.).I plan on analysing how the history of mathematical thought inadvertently led to revolutions in the sciences (e.g. how the study of infinity - a pure, 'useless' topic - acted as a catalyst for the development of calculus - which rests on the notion of the infinitely small - arguably one of the most important branches of applied mathematics).

    However, I fear this might turn out to be a list of mathematical topics w/ out any evaluation (after thinking about how interconnected mathematics is with the plethora of other disciplines, and how interlinked mathematics is within itself - i.e. cutting funding for a 'useless' area of mathematics will hamper the development of other areas etc. This really doesn't leave a convincing argument against pure mathematical research, hence I fear all I will end up doing is listing the applications of pure maths). Is it wise for me to pursue this?

    (my EPQ teacher said this looks fine, but he isn't a maths teacher and thus I don't think he'll be able to see he potential incompatibility here; I'm yet to discuss this with my supervisor - who will, for obvious reasons, be a mathematics teacher).Thanks.
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    (Original post by rebirth61213)
    Hi.

    I want to do something mathematical for my EPQ; the problem here is that mathematical topics tend to have definitive answers and thus lack any 'pro/con' evaluation and argument that the EPQ demands.

    My initial idea is something along the lines of 'Is pure mathematical research economically justified?' as a lot of people criticise pure mathematics to be useless when compared to the applied section of mathematics (i.e. the applications of maths in physics, economics etc.).

    I plan on analysing how the history of mathematical thought inadvertently led to revolutions in the sciences (e.g. how the study of infinite - a pure, 'useless' topic - acted as a catalyst for the development of calculus - which rests on the notion of the infinitely small - arguably one of the most important branches of applied mathematics.).

    However, I fear this might turn out to be a list of mathematical topics w/ out any evaluation (after thinking about how interconnected mathematics is with the plethora of other disciplines, and how interlinked mathematics is within itself - i.e. cutting funding for a 'useless' area of mathematics will hamper the development of other areas etc.). Is it wise for me to pursue this?

    (my EPQ teacher said this looks fine, but he isn't a maths teacher and thus I don't think he'll be able to see he potential incompatibility here; I'm yet to discuss this with my supervisor, who will - for obvious reasons - be a maths teacher).

    Thanks.
    It sounds fine but you're right about the risk of it turning into a list. I'd suggest that you maybe ask is it STILL economically justified. And pick 2 or 3 specific developments. One very old (like infinity) something from the 20th century and something more recent. You can then discuss whether the impact has diminished or increased and with more recent examples you might be able to find more sources that look at direct economic impact in a way that can be quantified.
 
 
 
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