Questions related to the teaching and learning of mathematics.

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Where to go after calculus?

Ok this is a bit of an unanswerable question, but hopefully someone will answer. As I have been going through college & high school there has been a kind of "path" through which you learn math. ...
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6answers
407 views

Evaluating the reception of (epsilon, delta) definitions

There is much discussion both in the education community and the mathematics community concerning the challenge of (epsilon, delta) type definitions in real analysis and the student reception of it. ...
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4answers
355 views

What's the deal with integration?

So at uni we learned tricks and techniques for integration until cows came home. But to what end? Any/All definite integrals can be evaluated using numerical methods. Most integrals in application can ...
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Educational Math Software

What is the the most educational software for high school and college math? Not the one that just gives you the answer, but has any of the following: Edit: Software mentioned in answer added in ...
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3answers
426 views

Mathematics Style Guide - l vs 1 vs |

I had a quick look around here and google before, and didn't find any answer to this particular question, and it's beginning to really irritate me now, so I'm asking here: How is one supposed to ...
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6answers
651 views

What we're never taught explicitly

I would like to make a complaint really. School math(s) can be the most boring way to learn: sitting down and rote learning binomial expansion or the volume of a cylinder is just not interesting. It ...
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Why is 1 raised to infinity Not defined and not “1” [duplicate]

$1$ square is $1$, so is raised $1$ to $123434234$. My maths teacher claims that $1$ raised to infinity is not $1$, but not defined. Is there any reason for this? I know that any number raised to ...
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Reviews/comparison of Python vs Matlab for teaching Linear Algebra

I am wondering about advantages of using Python for teaching introductory linear algebra. I have been using Matlab and I became interested in Python mainly because of several resources, e.g., ...
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624 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: ...
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808 views

What is the probability that GCD of $(a,b)$ is $b$?

My question is quite simple. I have been googling a lot lately trying to find a solution to this: Given a sequence of n integers $[1,2,...,n]$. If we pick two numbers randomly from the set say, a and ...
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5answers
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Experiences with Rudin?

So I am trying to tutor a friend in analysis. This is her first time with proofs. We are on chapter 2 – the topology chapter – of Rudin's Principles of Mathematical Analysis and ...
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1answer
259 views

Darboux's Integral vs. the “High School” Integral

The definition of the integral below is what I usually call the "High School definition," because that's usually where I've seen it in use. Take a partition $\Delta = \{ x_0, x_1, x_2, \ldots, ...
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4answers
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Is there any good reason why a protractor starts from right to left, unlike a scale, which starts from left to right?

While studying through the number system, i notice that positive side is from 0 to +ve infinity. The direction is left to right. However, this is opposite in case of angles. The sort of curved number ...
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2answers
539 views

Strengthening My Foundation in Mathematics

"For every equation you introduce, you cut your audience in half." This expression, which I believe came from Stephen Hawking, summarizes why I believe that I have a weak foundation in ...
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3answers
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Difficulties with Chapter 2 in Rudin

I have been reading Rudin (Principles of Mathematical Analysis) on my own now for around a month or so. While I was able to complete the first chapter without any difficulty, I am having problems ...
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2answers
266 views

Why do we want probabilities to be *countably* additive?

In probability theory, it is (as far as I am aware) universal to equate "probability" with a probabilistic measure in the sense of measure theory (possibly a particularly well behaved measure, but ...
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2answers
253 views

How are more difficult proofs discovered?

Are there any resources that show how are the various proofs of important theorems in mathematics are invented? I don't understand how can anyone come up with this method for proof for example. I want ...
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1answer
142 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 ...
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1answer
324 views

The perception of mathematics

In my work I wrote the following sentence. "...there is a negative perception of mathematics and mathematicians, both within and outside of academia." Err. Right. So, I believe that this is ...
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2answers
434 views

What should be the next step?

This is a soft/educational question and I'll flag it to be made community wiki. A little bit of background, first. I am in my last undergraduate year, and I took a graduate course in category theory; ...
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1answer
129 views

How to draw greek letters on paper / blackboard?

For $\gamma$ (gamma), I've noticed people doing a sort of $\alpha$ (alpha) rotated by ninety degrees, which seems to be the standard on-paper-or-blackboard equivalent of $\gamma$. But for letters ...
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1answer
148 views

Is it a bad idea to study modern algebraic geometry without having any background in smooth manifolds?

I have a chance to take a course in algebraic geometry developed in the scheme theoretic setting and am considering my options. I have taken graduate courses in general and commutative algebra and ...
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2answers
350 views

Outline and Goals of a One-Year Calculus Sequence

Our department is considering restructuring our traditional three semester calculus sequence so that the calculus requirement for our majors is satisfied in two semesters. Does your department ...
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1answer
224 views

Learning Mathematics in a Second Language

My first language is English, and since all of my formal education has been undertaken in the USA, I have learned mathematics entirely in the English language. However, I have spent a fair amount of ...
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1answer
133 views

Proof vs Practice

I've been brushing up on a lot of basic arithmetic, algebra, and logic as I work towards a review of calculus (and beyond), and I keep noticing that in order to fully understand many principles in the ...
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0answers
142 views

Undergrad research gateways

This question is intended as public service to mathematics. It is meant to benefit undergrad research students and maybe even researchers wishing to broaden their expertise and learn something away ...
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1answer
574 views

Where does the “Visual Multiplication” technique originate from?

There is a geometric technique to perform multiplication of numbers. But as the internet goes, it is hard to figure out who deserves the credit. What I've heard is A mayan technique From Vedic ...
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1answer
188 views

How much math is there? [closed]

Among other things I teach high school-level math, and one question that often comes up is: "How long would I have to study math in order to know all of it?" I usually tell them that it's like ...
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4answers
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What are the prerequisites for taking introductory abstract algebra?

I am a maths student in my second year of university. I have taken and done quite well in Calculus I, II, III as well as a linear algebra (application focused) class. I have not worked much with ...
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230 views

Formality and mathematics

Why is it important to be formal in mathematics? Is formality beneficial for students? Or is it just to scare students away from mathematics?
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Expanding problem solving skill

I have a great passion for Math but my lack in problem solving skill always keeps me away from the "good stuff". I always wanted to be better at Math and one of the things I figured out was to keep ...
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6answers
3k views

Easiest and most complex proof of $\gcd (a,b) \times \operatorname{lcm} (a,b) =ab.$

I'm looking for an understandable proof of this theorem, and also a complex one involving beautiful math techniques such as analytic number theory, or something else. I hope you can help me on that. ...
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3answers
953 views

Masters' thesis in group theory [closed]

I would like some ideas on topics in group theory which would be suitable for a masters' thesis. What sort of problems would be suitable for this level? Because it is at masters' level, no original ...
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4answers
716 views

How to convince a high school student that differentials don't work like fractions in general?

It all started when I tried to convince a 10th grader that if $f$ is a function defined on $\mathbb{R}^n$ the differential is defined by: $\large \displaystyle df = ...
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5answers
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Simplest error detecting/correcting codes for math newbies

Suppose you have been given the task of teaching some basic coding theory to folks who are interested in math but have not taken algebra, number theory, etc. If you want to introduce codes, you might ...
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4answers
389 views

Extracurricular ideas for UK GCSE level maths student

My daughter is 15 years old and enjoys her maths classes (perhaps only because her maths homework takes her the least amount of time). Until now I have managed to introduce her to subject matter ...
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520 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 ...
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3answers
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Experiences with Kumon

We have enrolled our 5 year old son in Kumon which is an after school math and reading enrichment program of Japanese origin. While he is learning lots of things (currently learning how to add i.e., ...
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How do you rebuild your Math skills after college?

I minored in Math in college (B.S. Software Engineering), and went through advanced Calc, Differential Equations, etc. But about 6 months after I graduated I had lost all my formulas. Now, about 5 ...
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246 views

Mathematical news sources.

I'm studying my high school right now but I really like math and it would be great for me if I could find a place where I can find about what is going on in the math world nowadays. About a year ago I ...
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Math book for an eager learner with non-mathematical background

I was reading answers to How do you explain the concept of logarithm to a five year old? and realized that I really don't understand mathematics. Okay, I lied when I said that I had no mathematical ...
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Does this class of cipher have a name? What weaknesses does it have?

Some Background In October I have been asked by the school I teach at to organise and lead 'a hands-on cryptography session' for a bright group of 13 year olds to follow a talk on Enigma by an ...
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309 views

Is formal logic necessary for pure/“higher” mathematics?

I'm asking this as an autodidact who wants to learn math rigorously for its own sake. And I was just wondering if understanding proofs could be achieved without a formal grounding in symbolic logic. I ...
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1answer
384 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 ...
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Degree choice — Math or physics

I realize that it is of bad form to cross-post. However, on this matter I very much hope to hear arguments from all sides... I hope to become a physicist focusing mainly on the theoretical side in ...
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567 views

Historical basis and mathematical significance of Riemann surfaces

It is written in Riemann Surfaces (Oxford Graduate Texts in Mathematics) by Simon Donaldson, that: "[t]he theory of Riemann surfaces occupies a very special place in mathematics. It is a culmination ...
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2answers
402 views

Too many topics taught in class? Frustrated student in need of advice and encouragement. [closed]

Location: New York CUNY (as education systems might be different in other places) I started my life studying philosophy and psychology and then at 22 transitions to computer science. It took me a ...
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3answers
348 views

Graduate School?

I'm completely clueless on the process, but on track to graduate in two years, so I have a few questions about what I should do. 1) What's the difference between a Master's degree in Mathematics and ...
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1answer
422 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 ...
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1answer
233 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 ...