I am a PhD student in physics studying high energy theoretical physics at UCLA. I am back in LA (where I’m originally from) after 4 years in New York studying math and physics at Columbia University and 2 years in England getting a masters in mathematics by researching twistor theory (a proposed theory of quantum gravity) at Oxford University.
Being a graduate student, I am not that far removed from the math education system, and I therefore have a crisp memory of having gone through it. In my opinion, the state of our math education system is terrifyingly bad (at least in some respects). Why do I believe this? Amongst other things, because most students never see the good stuff, i.e., what’s on this site. Most of us had to wait until the first or second year of an undergraduate mathematics curriculum before seeing this kind of math (i.e., real math), despite the fact that we could have been exposed to it much earlier on. In other words, by the time most people can see the cool stuff, they’re already so passionately turned off from mathematics that they don’t want to touch the subject with a 10-foot pole. I discuss more about this throughout the site, so I’ll spare the reader for now.
Second only to my love for math itself is my passion for teaching it. Thus, this site is in a large respect a selfish endeavor. I love learning new math and finding new results, and I also love explaining how I think about those findings to others. Seeing as it is my way of thinking about things that makes me enjoy the subject (after all, I have no way of thinking about things other than my own way (by definition)), I figure that explaining to others how to think of these things also inspires the same awe in their minds. The way I see it, there is a mathematical world “out there” and we’re fortunate enough to have the ability to experience parts of it. Moreover, the way that we experience this world is by communicating it to others. For if this world just sits in our own heads in just the same way that it sits “out there”, then it still does no one any good. I therefore feel that a large part of the responsibility of being someone who studies and loves this subject is to explain it to others. And that’s why I’m here now. The rest isn’t too important.