Interview with Lukas Blessing, B.A.

February 14, 2023

Graduate award winner for outstanding B.A. degree at the Department of Mathematics 2023 Portraits at the Department of Mathematics at the University of Stuttgart

Why study mathematics?

Mathematics is something that has fascinated me from a very early age. I was and am fascinated by its logical construct, which on the one hand is abstract, but on the other hand is also able to describe our reality through the natural sciences, among other things. Accordingly, my second major is physics. Through the
combination of these two sciences, it is possible to describe almost the entire universe around us, from the smallest particle to huge galaxies, which has fascinated me since my childhood.

Why study teaching?

This is a question that many people asked me with incomprehension when I told them before I started my studies that I planned to study teaching. However, the answer is relatively simple: The profession of a teacher is the profession that corresponds to my interests and strengths and that I enjoy. Besides the technical part, it also involves working with young people and imparting knowledge, which I consider very important. In our society, you often hear phrases like "I was bad at math back then, too" or "I didn't understand that in math back then, either," which lowers the motivation for students to deal with the subject. I want to counteract this and show how fascinating mathematics is, so that as many students as possible enjoy it, enjoy studying it and discover their potential in this field. All in all: I want to pass on my enthusiasm for my subjects to students.

How can you imagine studying mathematics?

The subject of mathematics at university is indeed different from the subject of mathematics at school. Whereas in school the focus is mostly on applying mathematics in as everyday contexts as possible, studying mathematics is at a higher level of abstraction. Here, piece by piece, you build a logical and abstract construct that quickly splits into several disciplines of mathematics. Everything you do and all the statements you derive are based on the same definitions and ultimately on the same basic axioms. Every now and then you come across statements from your earlier mathematics lessons at school and realize that back then you often didn't question why they were valid. Now, however, one gets to know what is behind them.

A good bridge between these two worlds is the advanced mathematics course offered at many schools. Through it, the university understanding of mathematics and its procedures is already introduced in the upper school of the Gymnasium and thus facilitates the transition to the study of mathematics at the university.

In addition, studying mathematics is of course much more time-consuming than mathematics lessons at school, since the much more complex topics are accompanied by additional more complicated tasks. You will come across topics and tasks that will take you several hours to understand correctly or to find a solution. Accordingly, one of the most important principles in mathematics studies is never to give up. But if you enjoy thinking about logical problems and solving them, then that's no problem either.

Lukas Blessing, B.A. 
Graduate Award Winner for Outstanding B.A. Degree in the Department of Mathematics

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