Math is an Art, Not a Science
When I was a mathematics major at Knox in the 1960s, planning was under way for what became the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center. At that time, Rothwell Stephens was the chair of the Department of Mathematics. When discussion of the building ﬁrst began, it was referred to as “the new science building.” Dr. Stephens, who was a well-respected mathematician, was upset. He said, if the Department of Mathematics was moved into a science building, he would resign. According to Dr. Stephens, mathematics is an art, not a science. Actually, he said it is a branch of philosophy. Knox did not want to lose this honored mathematician, so the building is called the ScienceMathematics Center, rather than the Science Building.
I am very proud of my bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from Knox College. My degree from Knox opened doors for me later on. The fact that Dr. Stephens was an integral part of my education contributed to the respect for my degree. I hope many future students will recognize mathematics as the art that it is and choose to earn a B.A. in mathematics rather than a B.S. I cringed when I read your recent article where you included mathematics in a list of sciences, imagining Dr. Stephens’ reaction.
—Janet Wittig Warﬁeld ’66