Questions asking for advice on various mathematical matters. Be careful that your question is answerable, and also that it is not a polling question (e.g. "What is the best / your favorite way to...").

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344
votes
25answers
66k views

How to study math to really understand it and have a healthy lifestyle with free time?

Here's my problem. I'm studying math and when I really work hard, I think I understand things very good, but that comes at a big cost: in the last few years, I've had practically zero physical ...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

Learning Roadmap for Algebraic Topology

I am now considering about studying algebraic topology. There are a lot of books about it, and I want to choose the most comprehensive book among them. I have a solid background in Abstract Algebra, ...
4
votes
3answers
276 views

I need some advice for $ \; “ \; 3xy+y-6x-2=0 \;”\, $

PS: I edited the title again and I think, it's better now... :) Actually, almost the whole solving way is wrong but, I understood why... :D :) You can check that or add some more useful links about ...
162
votes
28answers
17k views

Too old to start math

I'm sorry if this question goes against the meta for posting questions - I attached all the "beware, this is a soft-question" tags I could. This is a question I've been asking myself now for some ...
95
votes
9answers
8k views

How do I sell out with abstract algebra?

My plan as an undergraduate was unequivocally to be a pure mathematician, working as an algebraist as a bigshot professor at a bigshot university. I'm graduating this month, and I didn't get into ...
7
votes
6answers
931 views

Which topics of mathematics should I study? [closed]

I'm a first year econometrics student with a great interest in mathematics. I very much enjoy my study, but still I am interested to learn about more topics in mathematics which are not part of my ...
34
votes
3answers
4k views

Motivation and methods for self-study

First, a little background: Beginning with calculus in my first semester of college, I fell in love with mathematics. That was the point at which the concepts became interesting to me, and I started ...
33
votes
7answers
3k views

What are some good math specific study habits?

What are/ were some of your good mathematician's study habits that you found really worked for you? I'm a CS major at a respected school and have a solid GPA... However, I definitely lack when it ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Rudin against Pugh for Textbook for First Course in Real Analysis

So as I have said before in a previous question, I am taking a first course in Mathematical Analysis, and I'm quite excited. I just found out though that unlike the other professors at my university, ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Linear Congruence Theorem - Are these solutions too? Where'd they hail from?

(1) Can't the signs - I colored them in red - of x and y be switched? Aren't $x = x_0 - bn/d$ and $y = y_0 + an/d$ also solutions? They satisfy $ax + by = c$? (2) How can I remember these ...
71
votes
23answers
15k views

Complete course of self-study

I am about $16$ years old and I have just started studying some college mathematics. I may never manage to get into a proper or good university (I do not trust fate) but I want to really study ...
39
votes
12answers
3k views

I almost quit self-studying mathematics, but should I continue?

Before I move on to the main idea of this post, I need to tell you some background information about myself. Hopefully, it proves useful for you in giving me advice. I'm a 16 year old high school ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Advice for Self-Study

I am a senior in high school who has taught myself through Calculus BC and I got a 5 on the exam. However, I have taken all the math I can at my school. I have also taught myself multi-variable ...
8
votes
3answers
619 views

Which of these courses to take if one intends to go to grad school in pure math (rank please)

could you rank these classes in terms of necessity to take if I intend to pursue a Ph.D in pure math? I don't know if I can fit everything, but I want to make sure I take the most important ones: ...
2
votes
1answer
142 views

Rudin: Problem Chp3.11 and need advice.

I am working on the following problems and I have a couple of questions. Suppose $a_n>0, s_n = \sum_{i = 1}^{n}$ and $\Sigma a_n$ diverges. RTP (a) $\Sigma \frac{a_n}{1+a_n}$ ...
4
votes
2answers
309 views

Majoring in maths

Does majoring in mathematics with economics (with emphasis on mathematics) have good career prospects? Does anyone know something about this course?
55
votes
4answers
1k views

“Advice to young mathematicians”

I have been suggested to read the Advice to a Young Mathematician section of the Princeton Companion to Mathematics, the short paper Ten Lessons I wish I had been Taught by Gian-Carlo Rota, and the ...
81
votes
18answers
8k views

How do you describe your mathematical research in layman's terms?

"You do research in mathematics! Can you explain your research to me?" If you're a research mathematician, and you have any contact with people outside of the mathematics community, I'm sure ...
56
votes
11answers
10k views

Am I just not smart enough? [closed]

When I was doing math, let us say for example, introductory number theory, it seems to take me a lot of time to fully understand a theorem. By understanding, I mean, both intuitively and also ...
40
votes
7answers
4k views

How does a non-mathematician go about publishing a proof in a way that ensures it to be up to the mathematical community's standards?

I'm a computer science student who is a maths hobbyist. I'm convinced that I've proven a major conjecture. The problem lies in that I've never published anything before and am not a mathematician by ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

Math GRE Subject Exam

I am studying for the GRE Mathematics subject exam [1]. I am looking for tips regarding how to more effectively study for it. Does anyone know of any good study materials or have any tips in general? ...
23
votes
4answers
978 views

Understanding mathematics imprecisely

For a long time, it has been a complete mystery to me how any of my peers understood any math at all with anything short of filling in every detail, being careful about every set theoretic detail down ...
32
votes
10answers
3k views

Becoming Better at Math

How can I become excellent at math? It really interests me but when I fail I become demotivated and begin to give up. EDIT: Could anyone suggest books for someone with a math education that just ...
22
votes
3answers
862 views

How much time is too much (to put into a single problem)?

As a self-studier, I have no due dates and no time pressure. This is partly a good thing since I do have a life outside of my pursuit of mathematics. However, the lack of pressure is also a bad ...
21
votes
6answers
1k views

What am I losing if I decide to perform all math by computer?

I solve mathematical problems every day, some by hand and some with the computer. I wonder: What will I lose if I start doing the mathematical problems only by computer? I've read this text and the ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

I want to start mathematics from scratch. What should I begin with?

I've just finished high school but I don't feel my knowledge of mathematics is good enough. I'd like to start again from scratch, possibly adding a bit (a lot) of problem solving to it. What is the ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

Mathematical Career Advice to a young 16 year wannabe mathematician

I am a '94 born aspiring mathematician, programmer and a little bit of drummer from Nepal. I have been an avid follower and lover of mathematics since my seventh grade. Although I do not even consider ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

How to do well on Math Olympiads

I'm a high school student who really likes maths and I'm quite good at school. I want to start training maths by myself but I think I need some guidelines. I want to do well on IMO but I don't know ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

Submit papers: arxiv or vixra? [closed]

If I submit a paper at other place (for example vixra) first, can I (modify it and) submit it to arxiv again? Is it valuable to publish a paper at the vixra? Except arxiv and vixra, does any other ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Career advice in mathematics

First of all, I don't know if this is the right place to ask about careers. If not, please direct me somewhere I can get more help. So, I'm in my first year of university, majoring in applied ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Grasping mathematics

First, I'm not trying to make this sound like a "poor-me" story. I understand fully that every decision I've made leading to this is my fault. I am genuinely looking for advice. So, I am a high ...
12
votes
4answers
763 views

Bad at computations… but not math?

Very generally, the question I'm trying to ask is: Can someone be a good professional mathematician without being particularly good at (or even being - relatively - bad at) computations? More ...
6
votes
2answers
432 views

What is the best approach when things seem hopeless?

I'm finding that I am getting to the point of being hopelessly behind in one of my courses (Fourier Analysis). What is the best thing to do when it feels impossible to get caught up in the literal ...
8
votes
3answers
196 views

Books that you think you should have read during your undergraduate years

A quite popular question here is "If you could go back in time and tell yourself to read a specific book at the beginning of your career as a mathematician, which book would it be?" I would like to ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is Foundational Research a Dead Field?

I'm a second year mathematics major at a pretty good school. Ever since I became a math major I have been most interested in set theory and logic, which I guess can be lumped into the category of ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Advanced Linear Algebra courses in graduate schools

After studying general a linear algebra course, how would an advanced linear algebra course differ from the general course? And would an advanced linear algebra course be taught in graduate schools? ...
5
votes
4answers
262 views

What sequence should I study these topics in?

I will shortly list a series of topics that amount to what is essentially the first two years of an undergraduate degree. I'd like to know what is considered best order in which to study these ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Spotting crankery

Underwood Dudley published a book called mathematical cranks that talks about faux proofs throughout history. While it seems to be mostly for entertainment than anything else, I feel it has become ...
16
votes
1answer
737 views

Strategies - What to do when stuck on some math?

Since math students will likely find themselves stuck on some math at some point, I am interested in pallating this ceaseness "fact." Thus, what are strategies, solutions, or resorts for getting ...
12
votes
2answers
797 views

Studying mathematics efficiently

I am particularly angry at myself for the last few days. I noticed how inefficiently I work. Here is the general scenario: I decided to study abstract algebra and analysis some days back. I tried ...
9
votes
0answers
262 views

Big geometry grad schools - for an average applicant

What are some schools that have a lot of geometry going on, but that might accept some middle-of-the-range applicants? Let me add some context... I left grad school (UC Davis) with an MS in 2012 ...
6
votes
2answers
421 views

Advice: Modern vs. Classics

First of all, my apologies if (well, I know I am but I don't know where to put it) I am posting this in the wrong place. So please feel free to move it to someplace else or to tag it differently if ...
4
votes
2answers
173 views

Surveys of Current (last 50 years) Mathematics at Graduate / Research level?

I'm wondering if there are any books or broad survey articles that survey current mathematical areas, i.e. mathematics of the last 50 years. Ideally, these would continue in the style of the various ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it possible to practice mental math too often?

I'm far from a mathematician, but the field I'm trying to break into (management consulting) requires a fair amount of mental arithmetic. I'm okay, but I'm not even close to as good as I need to be in ...
2
votes
1answer
612 views

Prerequisite for Differential Topology and/or Geometric Topology

What are the prerequisites to learning both or one of the items? Consider that one will have done some of the "core" classes like Differential Geometry, Real Analysis, Abstract Algebra and POint-Set ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What makes Probability so difficult to get it right in the first place?

I took two classes of Probability, I did very well and was confident on the subject. Now I meet it again in my Combinatorial Algorithm course, and guess what? I feel completely blank again! I have to ...
8
votes
0answers
498 views

Prerequisite of Projective Geometry for Algebraic Geometry

I studied Euclidean Geometry in high-school, and I have not studied anything relates to geometry since I started studying in university. I am now intending to study Algebraic Geometry, however, I ...
6
votes
2answers
433 views

Recommendations for real analysis

I have completed two courses in real analysis that covered up to chapter 9 in Rudin's Principle of Mathematical Analysis (and one on complex analysis). So if I am interested in continuing on in ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

Mathematics in cognitive sciences

Which areas of Maths can be formally studied in a cognitive sc major? Or: which areas of maths can support the study of brain. Some areas that seem relevant would be: mathematical logic, graph theory, ...
5
votes
1answer
258 views

When should I start learning Set Theory?

I started to learn a few disciplines on my own over the break after my first year in college and one of them was Real Analysis. In the process I came across many issues in Analysis texts concerning ...