Questions related to the teaching and learning of mathematics.

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28
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2answers
763 views

English words in written mathematics

I recently marked over $100$ assignments for a multivariable calculus course. One question which a lot of people did poorly was proving a given set was open. Aside from issues relating to rigour and ...
27
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8answers
3k views

Very *mathematical* general physics book

I am searching for a book to study physics. So far, I've been suggested Resnick, Halliday, Krane, Physics, but it doesn't seem to be very suited for a math major. Can you suggest some more ...
26
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9answers
7k 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 $\infty$? ...
26
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6answers
1k views

Should I understand a theorem's proof before using the theorem?

I find myself embarrassed when using results in books. For example, there are so many results in Sobolev spaces that I think I would not be able to understand all of them. Yes, I could try to ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

Good ways to help people learn math.

I have a student position at my university, which involves helping people who are struggling with basic calculus, precalculus, and discrete math. In general, the students that I help are hostile ...
25
votes
11answers
3k views

Vivid examples of vector spaces?

When teaching abstract vector spaces for the first time, it is handy to have some really weird examples at hand, or even some really weird non-examples that may illustrate the concept. For example, a ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

Is a good GRE score enough for a non-math graduate to be accepted in a decent pure mathematics graduate program?

I have a computer engineering degree , and i have studied several mathematics courses like single variable and multiples variables calculus , complex variables , probability , numerical analysis ... ...
25
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
25
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4answers
4k views

Mind maps of Advanced Mathematics and various branches thereof

I would like to get a list of mind maps of advanced mathematics topics. As an example, I have posted one below. I would be happy if you post such other maps. Making one and posting it here is also ...
24
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9answers
7k views

What is the (mathematical) point of geometric constructions?

The ancient discipline of construction by straightedge and compass is both fascinating and entertaining. But what is its significance in a mathematical sense? It is still taught in high school ...
24
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6answers
1k views

Why do new rules cause students to forget and misapply older rules?

I teach at a community college. I have taught everything from arithmetic to linear algebra. I have also taught at 4-year schools, but at present, I'm devoting my energies to the problem of helping ...
23
votes
4answers
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
1answer
504 views

How much math education was typical in the 18th & 19th century?

Was it unusual for people in those days to learn Calculus? Could a grad student take a course in differential equations or multi-variable Calculus, or did they have to learn from journals? I am always ...
22
votes
8answers
2k views

I'm teaching a college geometry course. What should I cover?

I've been asked to teach "Foundations of Geometry" at the University of South Carolina. Apparently, professors in the past have all done very different things, and I have a lot of choice in the ...
22
votes
6answers
2k views

Mathematics - The big picture

My knowledge in math sums up to several university level courses and a lot of self-study. Sometimes it feels like Mathematics is a huge subject with a lot of different areas which some of them ...
22
votes
6answers
492 views

Open source lecture notes and textbooks

This question is inspired by the popular "Best Sets of Lecture Notes and Articles". Indeed, I would like to collect a "big-list" of open source (that is, with $\LaTeX$ code available) high-quality ...
22
votes
2answers
7k views

Self-study Real analysis Tao or Rudin?

The reference requests for analysis books have become so numerous as to blot out any usefulness they could conceivably have had. So here come another one. Recently I've began to learn real analysis ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Is all of mathematics based on logic?

I do not understand the discipline in mathematics that is called "mathematical logic". For me, all of mathematics is based on logic and that is what makes it the exact science. Every theorem or lemma ...
20
votes
6answers
4k views

Complete undergraduate bundle-pack [closed]

First of all I'm sorry if this is not the right place to post this. I like math a lot. But I'm not sure if i want to do a math major in college. My question is: Can you give me a list of books that ...
20
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3answers
2k views

Research Experience for Undergraduates: Summer Programs (that accept non-American applicants)

There are many summer research programs in the United States, targeted at good motivated undergraduate students majoring in mathematics. The main aspects that characterize such programs are: (a) a ...
19
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4answers
1k views

How to respond to “solve this equation” in a basic algebra class

If it's acceptable practice on math.se, I'd like to really only ask this question of math educators as opposed to students or mathematical researchers. Some researchers will undoubtedly think the ...
19
votes
9answers
1k views

Should a high school introductory calculus class teach $\varepsilon$-$\delta$ proofs?

It seems to me that most high school students are comfortable with the intuitive notion of a limit ("as $x$ gets arbitrarily close to $c$, $f(x)$ gets arbitrarily close to $L$") and gain little ...
19
votes
5answers
720 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 ...
19
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4answers
4k views

Bridging any “gaps” between AP Calculus and College/Univ level Calculus II

I've been asked to tutor a soon-to-be college freshman who has taken AP Calculus and successfully earned college credit for first semester calculus. He has been admitted to an Engineering program, ...
19
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3answers
2k views

Books to study for Math GRE, self-study, have some time.

I just graduated from a regional university in the US with a minor in mathematics. There is a masters program overseas, for economics, that I want to attend but they require applicants to take the ...
19
votes
8answers
10k views

Online Math Degree Programs

Are there any real online mathematics (applied math, statistics, ...) degree programs out there? I'm full-time employed, thus not having the flexibility of attending an on campus program. I also ...
19
votes
2answers
455 views

Collections of undergraduate research projects

I would like to compile a "big list" of undergraduate research projects in the following areas of mathematics: calculus; analysis; abstract algebra; linear algebra; number theory; geometry; ...
18
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8answers
960 views

Definition of definition

I was wondering if there is a good way to "define" what definition means exactly in mathematics. Since the answers may be subjective or philosophical, I want to ask only for references on this topic. ...
18
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5answers
565 views

Big list of serious but fun “unusual” books

I would like to have some suggestions about serious (that is, with good mathematical content) but fun books that cover topics (or propose problems) in "recreational mathematics"; in any other field ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do we need to learn Set Theory?

I was planning to write some article for the Mathematics magazine of our college and it occurred to me that it will be a good idea to write about the impact and importance of Set Theory. I plan ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

What does Khan Academy have to offer? Depth? Rigor?

Khan Academy - http://www.khanacademy.org/ - is often cited as a great online resource for learning mathematics and other subjects. I have heard many good things about this website and was wondering ...
17
votes
7answers
4k views

How to study for analysis?

I am currently a first year undergraduate majoring in mathematics. I'm taking an introductory analysis course and find it very hard compared to other math couses. I know that the topics covered in the ...
17
votes
7answers
5k views

How to show every subgroup of a cyclic group is cyclic?

I'm teaching a group theory course now, and I wanted to give my students a proof that every subgroup of a cyclic group is cyclic. The easiest way I could think to do this is to say that any cyclic ...
17
votes
6answers
3k views

How to go from beginner to expert in mathematics?

I'm particularly interested in knowing the order of subjects one should study to become good in mathematics. In my not so great knowledge of the subject I would say that the best place to start could ...
17
votes
3answers
985 views

A problem V.I. Arnold solved as a primary school student

According to a 1995 interview that Vladimir I. Arnold gave to the Notices of the AMS, his primary school teacher I.V. Morozkin gave in 1949 (when Arnold was 12 years old) to a Soviet classroom, most ...
17
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7answers
754 views

Exciting games and material to motivate children to math

We are a group of people trying to motivate children, especially living in the countryside, to science and math. We have different activities with children such as doing scientific experiments and ...
17
votes
5answers
879 views

Fun math outreach/social activities

What are some great math social activities for students? I'm looking for things that bring people together with a "light" mathematical touch. The goal is to create a stronger mathematical community in ...
17
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 ...
17
votes
1answer
551 views

Learning Math Efficienctly and Succeeding in Grad School

I'm currently a second year Ph.D. student studying pure math. I've recently come to the conclusion that I must be studying wrong. Actually, more to the point, I must be thinking about mathematics ...
17
votes
5answers
567 views

Proving a certain map on the closed unit disc must be the identity

Bounty expired. Will gladly re-create one if a satisfactory answer is posted in the future. Prove: Let $f$ be a continuous function on the closed unit disc with two properties: 1. $f$ is the ...
16
votes
8answers
1k views

When is something “obvious”?

I try to be a good student but I often find it hard to know when something is "obvious" and when it isn't. Obviously (excuse the pun) I understand that it is specific to the level at which the writer ...
16
votes
3answers
269 views

Is$\frac{\sqrt{a}}{\sqrt{b}}$ the same as $\sqrt{\frac{a}{b}}$?

My idea is that the two functions are not the same since for the first function, the domain of the function is only non negative reals for the numerator and positive reals for the denominator. ...
16
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11answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
655 views

Math department space design ideas

I'm looking for resources on design space for academic departments, particularly, We've been asked to provide ideas on designing a "dream math department". I'd like to gather some ideas for doing ...
16
votes
6answers
782 views

Undergraduate Research Thesis

1. General background information ★ At my university [whose name I will omit] the following practices are customary: ● During their third year of study, students have approximately $4$ ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Is the golden ratio overrated?

While reading many sources and watching many video's about nature and physics I wonder if the golden ratio is really that often occurring in nature and physics ? If I look on the Wikipedia pages I see ...
16
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5answers
710 views

Reflections on math education

Why is there such a big difference in math education between The Americas and (Europe and Asia) ? except for a few privileged who have the opportunity to access to math much earlier than the ordinary ...
16
votes
4answers
462 views

Mathematical Habit

Whenever I have to do proofs or understand a concept, I start with examples and generalize. As an aspiring mathematician, I have fears that it might hurt me, especially when we have so many ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

GRE past papers

As it is required for most students who wish to do a Ph.D in maths in the US to sit the GRE subject specific mathematics exam, I hope this question will be of interest to the mathematical community ...
15
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2answers
4k views

Path to Basics in Algebraic Geometry from HS Algebra and Calculus?

In this question, Why study Algebraic Geometry?, Javier Álvarez, develops a succint but encompassing description of algebraic geometry and its spread across different areas of mathematics. Indeed, it ...