The first thing to understand is that mathematics is an art. The difference between math and the other arts, such as music and painting, is that our culture does not recognize it as such.So starts a 25 page essay called A Mathematician's Lament, written in 2002 by Peter Lockhart. Certainly, most all mathematicians know this, and it really is this belief that leads us to the obsession with the beauty and general aesthetic quality of mathematics and mathematical research.
Now an expanded version of this essay has been published by Lockhart and Kieth Devlin. I have not read either the original essay or the book yet (I will be shortly). But I am so struck with this early quote and how I often find myself at social situations saying precisely this sort of thing:
"Math is an art. You know, like painting or music...."Sometimes, some things just speak to you, no? I'll have more when I have read the works.