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The two areas of human enquiry that inspire the greatest terror in the hearts of students are undoubtedly mathematics and physics. You may find history or chemistry or economics difficult, but your reaction to these subjects, and more others is almost certainly not fear. On the other hand, when you encounter an equation, your first reaction is to escape to more amiable company. If you compare subjects to people, you will realize that your reaction to maths or physics is very similar to your reaction to a stern, quiet person who is famous for his wisdom but who makes you very uncomfortable indeed. When he speaks you listen dutifully, because you’ve been told his words contain a lot of meaning, but you understand almost nothing, and you end up feeling foolish and exposed; and what is worse, this person does not need to shout to make you feel this way — he just has to look at you. When you see an equation or a mathematical expression you react in the same way. Let us try to under stand that what mathematics is and why it is so difficult.