You know that old high school lament, I’m not going to use math in real life? Apparently, you’re not going to use it in science either:
In the book, the two time Pulitzer Prize-winning Prof. Wilson shares what he calls a secret: that many top scientists today are mathematically merely “semiliterate,” and this is not so bad, because they can work with mathematicians as needed.
The problem — he calls it, quaintly, a “bugbear” — is that math is hard, and it scares good conceptual thinkers away from science. The over-mathematization of science squeezes out the more imaginative minds who happen to lack computational chops, causing what he calls a “hemorrhage of brain power we need to stanch.”
“During my decades of teaching biology at Harvard, I watched sadly as bright undergraduates turned away from the possibility of a scientific career, fearing that, without strong math skills, they would fail,” he writes in the book. “This mistaken assumption has deprived science of an immeasurable amount of sorely needed talent.”