Questions related to the teaching and learning of mathematics.

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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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3answers
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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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3answers
620 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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3answers
799 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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1answer
250 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
513 views

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
524 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
258 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
248 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
134 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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318 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
430 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
121 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
145 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
348 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
212 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
131 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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1answer
515 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
415 views

Is it possible to learn mathematics right from the source instead of reading textbooks. By studying the masters and not their pupils

I was wondering if mathematics learning process require the use of textbooks. When I was a high school student, I read as a preparation for university, Legendre book on Elements of geometry and ...
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141 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
187 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
1k views

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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3answers
905 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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6answers
395 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
694 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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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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6answers
509 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
1k views

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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4answers
245 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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5answers
510 views

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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3answers
351 views

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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5answers
2k views

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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306 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
382 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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4answers
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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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2answers
560 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
397 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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1answer
382 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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311 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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2answers
476 views

How to teach a High school student that complex numbers cannot be totally ordered?

I once again need your precious knowledge! I am not sure which is the best pedagogic way to teach a High school student about why complex numbers cannot be totally ordered. When I was in High school ...
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100 views

Information on crucial results concealed as exercises or neglected in a textbook

First, where can students find lists, information, or resources on the crucial results, inequalities, theorems, etc... which a textbook might not explictly feature or even bring up at all? Second, ...
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2answers
262 views

Enlightening misunderstandings of test questions

What enlightening misunderstandings of test questions have you encountered? Of course, there are jokes about this, such as literal (graphic) “expansion” of the power of a binomial, but I am asking ...
7
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1answer
97 views

So bad at maths sometimes I feel depressed about it

I taught myself how to count before I even learnt how to talk or read. Playing with numbers was all I did when I was young. I didn't have anyone to foster that type of passion that I believe I still ...
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2answers
677 views

Mathematics Article Collection Books for Talented High School Students

I'm looking for some good books including mathematics articles which are appropriate for talented high school students. I'm NOT looking for puzzle or Olympiad problem books. Here are some of my ...
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95 views

How to listen math lectures?

Many times, the lectures goes beyond the head and not easy to follow, (at least with me),mainly in the workshop/conferences, though the audience are eager to learn something from it. Also, most of ...
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881 views

Learning higher-mathematics on your own

I was hoping someone had an opinion on how to learn higher-mathematics (specific fields that could be of use to me) outside of a classroom setting. I graduated with an M.S. in Computer science about ...
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337 views

The difference between 10 and 9.99999 … (recurring) [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Does .99999… = 1? At supper today my daughter was discussing her maths (she's 13) - she had been studying putting decimal numbers into what she called standard ...
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10answers
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how to see the logarithm as the inverse function of the exponential?

I saw here in math.stackexchange some proofs of how the log and exp functions are related to each other, but I want to get an intuition for that. In layman terms, how would you explain the connection ...
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4answers
220 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?