541 reputation
25
bio website
location Jackson, MS
age 84
visits member for 2 years, 4 months
seen 2 hours ago

Originally a philosophy major. Then psychology. Retired electrical engineer (CCNY 1958) with lifetime interest in mathematics and my difficulty with it. Some graduate engineering at NYU. Lots of circuit design in the sixties. Master's in mathematics from Jackson State University in 2009. Planning to start a blog on a radially different view of mathematics and understanding mathematics in 2013 if resolution and finances hold.


Sep
2
answered $\mathbb{C}$ and $\mathbb{R}^{2}$
Sep
2
answered Taking Calculus in a few days and I still don't know how to factorize quadratics
Aug
28
answered What is the motivation for quaternions?
Aug
25
answered How should I self-study calculus?
Aug
5
comment Two dice thrown, one comes up 6
It's amazing how few people understand possible outcomes and conditional probability. Pre-kidney is exactly right: the answer is 1/11. Only if the dice were distinguishable, e.g., painted different colors, would the answer would be 1/6.
Jul
13
comment What exactly is a number?
Oops, I forgot to mention quantity as measurement which uses units and leads to quantity as position and/or location, relative zero, fractions of various kinds, and vectors. And infinity as a sort of quantity. Quantity is physical and an amazing concept.
Jul
13
comment What exactly is a number?
Yes. Numbers are precisely the names and shorthand notation that we give to quantities. Quantity is a much richer concept that mere counting. It is capable of direction and/or position as expressed in one dimension as signed numbers and in two dimensions as complex numbers and in all other dimensions though not nicely behaved in all. n-adic numbers are an interesting alternative way to represent negative numbers. Then, of course, there are myriad classes of numbers that are also called "numbers" such as prime numbers etc. Numbers can also be used as labels such as indicators of position etc.
Jul
11
answered About Trigonometry
Jun
13
comment What is the single most influential book every mathematician should read?
An intelligent math major who got a PhD from Columbia took an entire year to get through just the first chapter with doing all the problems. A year! Long ago I tried and gave up. It is definitely not an innocent's book.
May
27
answered Why are integrals called integrals?
May
25
answered Are there any situations where you can only memorize rather than understand?
May
11
comment What are good questions that could be used to demonstrate the nature of mathematics study?
@Fantini: I consider what I wrote to be a very brief statement and not a rant. But if rants would get mathematics out of the hands of obfuscating fundamentalists, I welcome rants.
May
11
answered What are good questions that could be used to demonstrate the nature of mathematics study?
May
9
answered How can probabilities be modeled in a universe where time travel is possible?
May
5
awarded  Yearling
May
1
answered Most important things to be proficient in before Calculus 1?
Mar
26
answered How do you define functions for non-mathematicians?
Mar
19
comment Why limits work
x/x is an interesting function. By definition, a/b means that number which when multiplied by b equals a. Every number when multiplied by 0 equals 0. So 0/0 stands for every number, i.e., in graph terms, the entire y axis. That is hardly a hole. If anything it's the one dimensional universe no matter how many people say otherwise.
Mar
18
comment Why limits work
@Dave L. Renfro: I disagree. The key idea is that the function x/x cannot be evaluated at zero by substitution. The function does not have a hole in it. It has a value that can't be found by substituting in the usual way. This is a vital difference. For that matter, its existence can't even be determined directly. This is the essential idea and I have never seen a clear description of it. It's exactly the same for all of the many explanations I've seen for why 0.99999.... = 1. It's a matter of our not being able to carry out the summation directly, though in this case we can algebraically.
Mar
18
comment Why limits work
Nick I should have mentioned that in the case of the two series that I mentioned, we don't need the notion of a limit to sum them since both are geometric so we can sum them algebraically.