16
votes
12answers
1k views

If there are obvious things, why should we prove them?

Obviously, there are obvious things in mathematics. Why we should prove them? Prove that $\lim\limits_{n\to\infty}\dfrac{1}{n}=0$? Prove that $f(x)=x$ is continuous on $\mathbb{R}$? $\dotsc$ Just ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Mathematics or physics at university

I have a strong interest in maths, and I feel that advanced physics is cool too (although I've only studied classical mechanics at high school, which is kind of boring). So I'm not sure about which ...
2
votes
0answers
24 views

Revise high school material

Can you suggest me a comprehensive book to revise high school mathematics (up to besic calculus)? It should be extremely clear and complete and "scientific" (not like most high school books). Thank ...
5
votes
0answers
52 views

Gap Year Advice-Becoming the Best I can be

I'm an undergraduate studying Mathematics at University of Cambridge. Very recently I had to take an intermit leave due to medical reasons during my second year as an undergraduate. During my time, I ...
3
votes
3answers
77 views

Things to do before starting math (or physics) at university

What is better to do before starting a math degree? I was thinking that maybe I should do something like: learning latex learning how to use matlab Any other suggestions?
8
votes
1answer
121 views

Create a Huge Problem

I am wondering if any problems have been designed that test a wide range of mathematical skills. For example, I remember doing the integral $$\int \sqrt{\tan x}\;\mathrm{d}x$$ and being impressed at ...
1
vote
3answers
30 views

Which discrete mathematics book to read for a software engineer?

I'm a computer science student, but I lack a good mathematics background. So I decided to start working on that. I was searching in the topic and I found that for computer science a good knowledge of ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

What courses require multivariable analysis?

For which undergraduate and introductory graduate mathematics courses is a rigorous course in multivariable analysis an essential prerequisite?
20
votes
8answers
6k views

Are there contradictions in math?

Someone told me that math has a lot of contradictions. He said that a lot of things are not well defined. He told me two things that I do not know. $1+2+3+4+...=-1/12$ what is infinity $\infty$? ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

How to study analytic number theory?

Should i study many books at the same time? Or should i go one by one? I started with Apostol's book... But for example if i don't understand a proof, i check another book for a different proof of the ...
5
votes
1answer
65 views

What's the trick to re-focusing on your math studies?

If you check my history on MSE, you'll see that I was very active about 1/2 a year ago. Right now I'm working and socializing a lot, which is important, but I also have spare time to devote to my ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

Where to begin my Math journey

I apologize if this is not the correct forum for this, but I felt it appropriate. I want to start getting into more mathematics and learning all I can to step up my programming career. I know plenty ...
2
votes
5answers
298 views

What area of Abstract Algebra do you find most interesting? [closed]

For my Abstract Algebra class, we will be doing small presentations (2 class periods) covering some topic in Abstract Algebra. Thus far, I have studied groups, rings, fields, modules, tensor ...
7
votes
1answer
91 views

why is that most of the books in mathematics don't include answers?

I am currently going through the " Topics in Algebra" By I. N. Herstein. The problems are pretty good. But there are no answers on the back. Same is the case with "Mathematical Analysis" by Rudin. I ...
2
votes
0answers
54 views

Is an undergraduate in engineering sufficient preparation for a masters in mathematics?

I'm a high school student who is considering doing an undergraduate in engineering. However my the long term plan is to pursue math at a higher level. I want to do engineering at undergrad because I ...
74
votes
19answers
12k views

Visually deceptive “proofs” which are mathematically wrong

Related: Visually stunning math concepts which are easy to explain Beside the wonderful examples above, there should also be counterexamples, where visually intuitive demonstrations are actually ...
7
votes
6answers
829 views

Should I do all the exercises in a textbook?

The problem sets that you usually get in a university course is a small fraction of the exercises in your textbook. Which raises a question: do you need to solve all the exercises from your textbook? ...
319
votes
41answers
139k views

Visually stunning math concepts which are easy to explain

Since I'm not that good at (as I like to call it) 'die-hard-mathematics', I've always liked concepts like the golden ratio or the dragon curve, which are easy to understand and explain, but are ...
1
vote
3answers
138 views

Is it possible to learn abstract algebra no precalculus or calculus?

See above. I am trying to re-teach myself mathematics in a different manner than is formally taught (i.e., set theory, number theory, mathematical logic, abstract algebra, discrete math and then ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

Don't feel like I grasp the mathematics I'm supposed to understand

In high school, I used to spend my free time proving the formulas that we were asked to use. I'd prove loads of formulas in Calculus that we never even studied, just because I enjoyed getting to the ...
1
vote
3answers
94 views

University-level books focusing on intuition?

I help some students with difficulties in Mathematics and Physics (especially math, physics, and engineering majors). While in high school they usually don't study, or are not interested, etc., in ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Why teach linear algebra before abstract algebra?

Is there a reason why most undergraduate curriculums put linear algebra before abstract algebra? I'm asking this because personally it seems to be much easier to understand the architecture behind ...
16
votes
11answers
772 views

Why limits work

I'm currently a first year student in electrical engineering and computer science. I know how to compute limits, derivatives, integrals with respect to one variable that is things from one variable ...
59
votes
14answers
5k views

Should an undergrad accept that some things don't make sense, or study the foundation of mathematics to resolve this?

I'm a second year math student. And I've the following problem. When I prepare myself for an exam, I can distinguish two phases. First I'm mainly interested in whatever is necessary to pass the ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

I want to pursue Computer Science as a major but I don't know if i should…HELP!? [closed]

I'm currently a second semester sophomore who's currently pursuing a Global Affairs major and minoring in Japanese Studies. I plan on going to law school after college and I'm interested in ...
2
votes
0answers
68 views

What are some cool projects that can be done in a high school math class?

I'm studying to be a secondary math teacher and will be starting student teaching next month (an algebra 2 class). It's difficult to find activities and projects that are actually informative and time ...
4
votes
2answers
164 views

Careers in Mathematics?

I am a college freshman, and I really like to have goals for my life, one of the big ones is my career of choice. Previously, I have always wanted to be a programmer, and I have written a lot of code. ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Events for high school students which can look good on a cv.

I'm a european high school student and I'll apply to university in July. Are there any interesting activities/events which can look good on the curriculum I'll submit with the application? Further ...
1
vote
2answers
76 views

Why doesn't this work? — The V.I. Arnold Primary School Problem (Two women started at sunrise…)

I've got a, perhaps silly, question. I understand the various solutions to this problem: Two women started at sunrise and each walked at a constant velocity. One went from A to B and the other ...
7
votes
6answers
405 views

Thinking of mathematics in terms of analogs

I think the way that I've come to think about mathematics is becoming problematic and I'm wondering if I should abandon it. When I study mathematics, I find myself trying to compare the mathematical ...
7
votes
1answer
368 views

Why do professors sometime hide the book from which they are really teaching? [closed]

Well, the title is almost self explanatory. I am in a graduate school and have two professors this semester both of who are telling me that they are not following any particular book, and yet when I ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

Bridge the gap to university mathematics [closed]

Can anyone suggest some good books to help an high school student to "bridge the gap" to university math? I've heard of http://www.amazon.com/How-Study-as-Mathematics-Major/dp/0199661316 and ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

maths for a strong visual spatial thinker with sequential processing weakness?

Can someone with superior visual spatial thinking ability but weak sequential/word ability be successful in university maths and beyond? For example, for real analysis, would definitions with lots of ...
4
votes
3answers
305 views

Most useful books for a math undergrad

What are the most useful books an undergraduate in math should read? I found Alock's "How to study as a math major" and "how to study for a math degree" very useful. Are there any other good readings ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

Are mathematics competitions important?

So I'm seventeen and currently a junior in high school. I love mathematics very much, it's developed into a strong passion over the past few years, after witnessing the president of the math club at ...
5
votes
1answer
55 views

Software for basic math notes at 5th to 10th grade level (10 to 15 years old)

So I've looked around, here and otherwise, but sadly can't seem to find quite what I'm looking for. I don't know if it even exists, I figured it was worth trying to ask, though. I've found plenty of ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

To take notes or not to [closed]

Is it really better to take notes as a maths major or are some better without them? I've never gotten used to taking notes and I've never done it. But I'm wondering if I'd improve if I'd start doing ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Figuring out deficiencies in math education.

I'm mostly self-taught and while I know (and use) many advanced mathematical topics, I often enough find holes in my understanding of lower level math. Is there an exam (or series of exams) I could ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

What is the contribution of group theory to topology?

An answer for a question on MathOverflow.net which asked for some recommendations on textbooks for books in topology received the following comment: "It's a great book to introduce applied ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

What are some helpful pre-requisites/hints/encouragement for going through Theodore Frankel's “Geometry of Physics” in a self-study?

I plan on working through "Geometry of Physics" by Frankel. I keep on running into little snags here and there, and I am wondering if that's just part of the process, or whether I am ill-prepared. ...
1
vote
0answers
48 views

Why are hyperbolic trigonometric functions avoided in (my) high school and early post-secondary school?

I remember seeing hyperbolic trigonometric functions (sinh, cosh, tanh, etc.) in my precalculus textbook back in high school and see them today in my calculus textbook. However, I have not had a ...
8
votes
2answers
134 views

How to introduce category theory to a high school audience?

I am a mathematician with background in Category Theory. I have been asked to give a 20 minute talk about my area of research to an audience of talented high school students and school mathematicians ...
4
votes
1answer
180 views

What pure mathematics foundations should an applied mathematician have?

I'm studying mathematics, with some statistics also, and I've always chosen applied courses. I'm getting to the point where I'm studying 3rd year undergraduate to graduate level material. My first ...
6
votes
4answers
322 views

Teaching irrational numbers?

I'm interested in teaching the irrational numbers to high-school students, and I need your ideas on how to do in an 'optimal' and innovative way. And my question is: What should the teacher know ...
2
votes
0answers
63 views

Exercises or courses to improve logical rigor and reasoning skills

There is plenty of math that is beautiful without needing much explanation of theory, such as fractals, geometric patterns and the Game of Life, that may interest beginners in mathematics. However, if ...
-1
votes
2answers
122 views

Is Math like a Language? [closed]

This is a sincere question, Is math like a language where after a certain period in one's life, he or she can't get good at it? I feel once someone reaches a particular age, he just loses to ability ...
44
votes
8answers
1k views

How to maintain enthusiasm and joy in teaching when the material grows stale

I recently finished my third semester of teaching calculus to freshman college students. This means I was drawing the same pictures, solving the same example problems, and discussing the same ...
17
votes
5answers
473 views

$\epsilon, \delta$…So what?

Over the course of my studies I often encounter phrases in reference material of the type "and this avoids the need for using $\epsilon$, $\delta$ definitions" or "by this we can omit those ...
114
votes
31answers
11k views

Stopping the “Will I need this for the test” question [closed]

I am a college professor in the American education system and find that the major concern of my students is trying to determine the specific techniques or problems which I will ask on the exam. This ...
6
votes
1answer
135 views

How to combat memorization

As a student in high school, I never bothered to memorize equations or methods of solving, rather I would try to identify the logic behind the operations and apply them. However, now that I've begun ...