Questions about studying mathematics without formal instruction.

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7answers
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Good abstract algebra books for self study

Last semester I picked up an algebra course at my university, which unfortunately was scheduled during my exams of my major (I'm a computer science major). So I had to self study the material, ...
18
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1answer
1k views

Learning path to the proof of the Weil Conjectures and étale topology

Assume you are an algebraic geometry advanced student who has mastered Hartshorne's book supplemented on the arithmetic side by the introduction of Lorenzini - "An Invitation to Arithmetic Geometry" ...
17
votes
5answers
832 views

Do equal bases imply equal powers?

$$x^a = x^b \Rightarrow a =b$$ So, this is a concept I used in multiple math problems and they often turn out right. The thing is, today my math teacher told me that this is not necessarily true. ...
17
votes
2answers
516 views

Pure mathematics curriculum for self study with interests in foundational issues

I wonder if I want to make my own pure mathematics curriculum to study along the next 4 or 5 years. What topics should I include? I want it to be like one which an undergraduate student of pure ...
17
votes
1answer
484 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Can I use Ravi Vakil's way of learning for elementary subjects?

I mean you can't learn math in a linear order. Can I just read a paper first on a subject I haven't studied and just work backwards? For example, I have never studied combinatorics but I sort of have ...
16
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5answers
4k views

Is memorization a good skill to learn or master mathematics?

I sometimes spend inordinate amounts of time memorizing math articles or theorems/proofs or formulas. My question is "am I wasting time?" and will 'active thinking' or 'working out problems' be faster ...
16
votes
3answers
841 views

Choice of $q$ in Baby Rudin's Example 1.1

First, my apologies if this has already been asked/answered. I wasn't able to find this question via search. My question comes from Rudin's "Princicples of Mathematical Analysis," or "Baby Rudin," ...
16
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6answers
3k views

Best Math books or apps for adults to learn math from the beginning

I lost a possible job because I didn't know how to multiply and subtract negative valued integers. I also don't know how fraction manipulation works. What reference books can I read that can help for ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Good introductory books on homological algebra

Which books would you recommend, for self-studying homological algebra, to a beginning graduate (or advanced undergraduate) student who has background in ring theory, modules, basic commutative ...
16
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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 ...
15
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7answers
568 views

Introduction to ring theory?

I've been teaching myself algebra these couple of months. I already went through the basics of group (Lagrange, action, class equation, Cauchy and Sylow theorems etc.) And I already have some linear ...
15
votes
2answers
524 views

Math blogs, pros and cons for writers?

I regularly read blogs by three mathematicians, and occasionally run into others. Definitely they help me a lot studying mathematics. But now I am more interested in the writers' perspective, and I ...
14
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2answers
1k views

Show that these two numbers have the same number of digits

I want to show that for $n>0$, $2^n$ and $2^n + 1$ have the same number of digits. What I did was I found that the formula for the number of digits of a number $x$ is $\left ...
14
votes
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 ...
14
votes
4answers
573 views

Recommended Math knowledge for programming

I wasn't sure if this is a math or programming question so I suppose I flipped a coin. I'm just learning programming thanks to my IT Support degree and was just wondering what the minimum recommended ...
14
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3answers
805 views

Careers in Math

I am a highschool 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
351 views

Why don't i understand “what is mathematics?” by Richard Courant

I am 14 years old and can do A level maths happily. However, I want to further my knowledge of mathematics to pave my way for more discrete maths and harder analysis etc. so I decided to pickup "What ...
14
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0answers
131 views

Nobody told me that self teaching could be so damaging…

Even though I've been teaching myself math for a couple of years now I only just started (a month ago) at the university. My experience is rather mixed. For starters i'd like to mention that i'm 21 ...
13
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9answers
4k views

A Book for abstract Algebra

I am self learning abstract algebra. I am using the book Algebra by Serge Lang. The book has different definitions for some algebraic structures. (For example, according to that book rings are defined ...
13
votes
5answers
7k views

Which calculus text should I use for self-study?

I am 36 years old, and have forgotten a lot of math from high school, of which I only took up to Algebra 2. However I am teaching myself mathematics and am now, as an adult, completely fascinated ...
13
votes
3answers
353 views

Being mathematically critical: how should a student approach statements that appear to be obvious?

Very occasionally, I will read or hear a theorem, and think: isn't that obvious? Not in a contemptuous "I can immediately see how to prove this" way, but rather in a "I would have thought this was ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Book on the Rigorous Foundations of Mathematics- Logic and Set Theory

I am asking for a book that develops the foundations of mathematics, up to the basic analysis (functions, real numbers etc.) in a very rigorous way, similar to Hilbert's program. Having read this ...
13
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1answer
4k views

How to self study Linear Algebra

I have no idea if this question is appropriate for this forum, but I hope you guys can overlook the fact that I asked it on a wrong forum (if I did) and still help me answer it (of course, if this is ...
13
votes
2answers
479 views

Yoneda Lemma Exercises

Can you please suggest some (relatively simple) exercises to practice the use of the Yoneda Lemma? Harder exercises are welcome too, but I would like to start with simpler ones. The answers to this ...
13
votes
1answer
448 views

How to improve mathematical creativity?

To introduce myself: I'm an undergraduate mathematics student in Germany. Currently I'm studying in the second semester and until now I'm doing well, but I still got the feeling that my ability to ...
13
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0answers
256 views

IMO programs of different nations?

We have a good team in the IMO, and this year I can, and probably will, be part of it. Since we as a country do not have a public training programme, I have to consult the training programms of ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Which is better strategy to learn and read books, traditionally one by one OR re-read carefully on perfect books

(Just focus on how to learn and master the stuff pretty well, not involve the aspect of courses or exam) Because recently I always feel that the time and energy are pretty limited, I want to try ...
12
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9answers
834 views

Suggest an Antique Math Book worth reading?

I'm not a math wizard, but I recently started reading through a few math books to prepare myself for some upcoming classes and I'm starting to really get into it. Then I noticed a few antique math ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Learning schemes

Could someone suggest me how to learn some basic theory of schemes? I have two books from algebraic geometry, namely "Diophantine Geometry" from Hindry and Silverman and "Algebraic geometry and ...
12
votes
5answers
958 views

Self studying math, how can I learn the most?

I am currently studying Pre-Calculus on my own. I have a few texts I am working with but feel like I could learning a lot more than I am. When people typically ask these kind of questions the common ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Relearning from the basics to Calculus and beyond.

Assume someone has very limited knowledge of math. (low level high school, 5-6 years ago) How would they learn from the basics of algebra, geometry and trigonometry to a solid foundation for calculus ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Baby Rudin: Advice

I am working through the first chapter of Principles of Mathematical Analysis and I am wondering how many of the twenty exercise problems I should do. I think the first ten are very to moderately ...
12
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3answers
950 views

What should a math graduate know? [closed]

There are a lot of undergraduate courses out there and most of them agree on certain things, with regard to the subjects covered. Courses that include mathematics (engineering, physics, etc) are ...
12
votes
1answer
150 views

What's the motivation of the definition of primary ideals?

$$xy\in\mathfrak q\:\Rightarrow\:\text{either $x\in\mathfrak q$ or $y^n\in\mathfrak q$ for some $n\gt0$}.$$ Primary ideals can be regard as the generalization of prime ideals and radical. But ...
12
votes
2answers
671 views

Is Mathematics graduation important for a Computer Scientist?

I know this might be a personal problem, but I often find some friends in the same problem as me so I think this might be helpful to them after all. I am going to graduate in Computer Science in ...
12
votes
2answers
880 views

Math Notes and Knowledge Organization Methodology

I, like many of you I suspect, take copious notes when reading and working through math exercises/theorems/constructions. I have stacks and stacks of notes ranging from one day old to several years. ...
11
votes
7answers
1k views

A linear operator commuting with all such operators is a scalar multiple of the identity.

The question is from Axler's "Linear Algebra Done Right", which I'm using for self-study. We are given a linear operator $T$ over a finite dimensional vector space $V$. We have to show that $T$ is a ...
11
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7answers
646 views

Making up for wasted high school years - where should I begin?

I realize this question is long and quite personal but any help will be greatly appreciated. I'm a senior high school student. I've learnt maths at precalculus level. I have had little exposure to ...
11
votes
6answers
7k views

In what order should the following areas of mathematics be learned?

I am in a biological field (medicine) but I have genuine passion for mathematics. I want to learn it on my own , in my spare time. Mathematics , as I gather, is learned best when you have grasped ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is cross product only defined in 3 and 7 dimensions? [duplicate]

Why $3$ and $7$? I know from some reading that Hurwitz's Theorem explains this, but can someone help me build some intuition behind this or perhaps provide a simpler explanation? It still seems ...
11
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2answers
986 views

Learning math-oriented French

I'd like to read several papers which I find interesting, but they are all in French. I have no problem with taking a traditional French class or learning it via some other method. However, I realize ...
11
votes
2answers
137 views

Is the maximal path through a math book necessarily linear?

I'm studying with two main math books (Munkres and D&F) these couple of months. My method so far is just going through the book page by page constructing everything in it (independently if I can) ...
11
votes
2answers
6k views

Tips for an adult to learn math — from the beginning.

First let me start with I am an adult and I can't do simple maths. I some how got through all of my math courses in University (after several attempts) but I honestly couldn't tell you how... I ...
11
votes
2answers
463 views

Computation of $\operatorname{Tor}_1$ and $\operatorname{Ext}^1$

Can you please give some examples of computation of the derived functors $\operatorname{Tor}_1$ and $\operatorname{Ext}^1$ for some simple cases, say $R=\mathbb{Z}$ or $R=\mathbb{Z}[G]$ for some ...
11
votes
1answer
162 views

How to Self-Study Higher Math Without Solutions

I've been lurking on this site for several months, and as someone studying higher mathematics independently (i.e., outside of a college/institutional setting), this forum has probably been the best ...
11
votes
3answers
197 views

Transitioning to Elementary School teaching and need some advice on bolstering my math skills

I'm an English major trying to make the transition to Elementary School teaching. For as long as I can remember, I've been extremely math-anxious and I've only done the bare-minimum level of Math work ...
11
votes
1answer
275 views

Am I reading Bott - Tu right?

Summary: I'm finding Bott - Tu to be too brief and terse. I constantly have to look elsewhere to fill in details. This is not time-efficient. Am I missing something? If not - what other books do ...
11
votes
1answer
437 views

Looking for an easy lightning introduction to Hilbert spaces and Banach spaces

I'm co-organizing a reading seminar on Higson and Roe's Analytic K-homology. Most participants are graduate students and faculty, but there are a number of undergraduates who might like to ...
10
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5answers
697 views

Notes for Beginner Fourier Analysis?

Are there any good lecture notes or books on basic fourier analysis that authors publish freely online? It is very difficult to find rigorous mathematical theory of fourier analysis because google is ...