You probably remember being in school and asking the question: “do I really need ‘X’ and ‘Y’ equations in my life?” And as you grow up, you will think back and realize that you have yet to use algebra ever since. But the truth is, it has always been around in ways you don’t often realize and algebra is in fact, an important part of our lives.
With this said, let’s look at a few daily life applications and examples of algebra that will definitely make you appreciate maths more.
Algebra is commonly used in many careers and professions. Some types of jobs will require more obvious technical mathematical applications as compared to others. For example, algebra is widely used among scholars and professionals under fields such as natural sciences (Chemistry, Physics, and Biology).
In Chemistry, algebraic expressions are used to explain the relationship between compounds and elements in a chemical equation. Balancing the chemical reactions and number of molecules under an equation are also based on basic algebra.
In the same manner, a lot of algebraic equations are also used in Physics. The most common ones are the computations for velocity, acceleration, equations of motion, and many more! You can check out more here.
The in-demand field, Computer Science also uses a lot of concepts under algebra, mainly to create algorithms for programs and apps to perform better.
On a wider scale, algorithms reflecting basic algebra theories are also used to analyze research studies from various fields by ‘qualifying’ quantity—translating statistics and numbers into discussions and reports.
Generally, be prepared to apply even the simplest algebraic computation at your job. After all, your early education years taught you the knowledge you need in your future professional growth and serve to prepare you in whatever field or discipline you choose.
Algebra is also commonly used in business and finance management. Professionals in these fields use equations to identify the ratio of profits and losses—all for the improvement of projects (e.g. products and services) they’re working on.
If you’re trying to apply for a loan, algebra is also used to compute the exchange and interest rates in your financial plan. When you’re trying to save money, using algebraic computations can also help you better in budget calculations. In general, these principles are used in all companies and organizations’ finance calculations.
Constant and frequent practice of algebra can help you better in dealing with logical and analytical problems in the long run. Knowing the technicalities and logics behind every equation and algebraic expression will train you to think more logically and analytically.
This can be illustrated in Philosophy too! Philosophy uses logical forms and equations to quantify and simplify a group of phrases and sentences. A basic and common phrase used in algebra is “X is equal to Y; Y is equal to Z; therefore, X is equal to Z”. This logical equation serves as the base and more are formed in a more or less similar nature. Check out more examples of logical forms here.
So if you want to improve your philosophical, logical, and analytical skills, practice algebra!
Of course, you won’t be literally using X’s and Y’s to calculate your way to work. But in your mind, all these calculations are somehow related to algebra. When getting ready for the day, you will need to allot time for you to prepare properly. Whenever you are planning in mind, you’re putting all the variables in your mind—time for breakfast, time to take a bath, your travel time, traffic, etc.—so that you’ll arrive early at school or work. By properly allocating these variables, you will definitely achieve a satisfying result at the end of the equation.
Just like getting ready for your morning routines, there are numerous times in your life that you will be making calculations before finalising decisions about something. For example, to choose your future school, career, or profession, you’ll consider many variables such as cost, location, course, company, and more. While they may seem relatively more abstract as compared to translating them to numbers or variables, these algebra-related calculations help you decide more logically and practically.
When trying to work on home improvements, algebra is also certainly needed. For example, if you want to redecorate your floor, you’ll need to compute the area and calculate the amount of new tiles needed. Additionally, you’ll also need to budget the total expenses for the renovation.
As mentioned earlier, algebra is used to manage your finance and expenses. Apart from this, it can also be used to make daily to monthly budget plans for you to spend your money wisely and save accordingly.
For example, think of it like this: “I only have X, so I should only spend A, B, C, and save D. This way, I’ll be able to divide X properly for my needs”.
Now, let’s transform it to a simple algebraic equation:
X = A + B + C + D
X = Your total money
A = Budget for monthly bills
B = Budget for groceries and/or essentials
C = Snacks
D = Savings
You can also put in constants to quantify the percentage you’ll be allotting in all your expenses and thus, signifying your priorities. You can add the constants according to your own preference and needs. It should look something like this:
X = 5A + 3B + C + D
Where A (Bills) is of top priority, followed by B (Groceries and/or Essentials), and eventually C (Snacks) and D (Savings) with equal proportions.
You may not necessarily use algebraic symbols and equations when carrying out your daily routines. However, the basic concepts and principles behind algebra are always hiding somewhere in everyone’s lives! So don’t take your algebra lessons for granted—acknowledge them, utilize them, and improve them constantly. Who knows? It may help you grow and change some of your perspectives on life.