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Ask a Mathematician!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by IdiotsOpposite, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    Just kinda irritates me to see people pretending to be something that they're not (I was also kinda annoyed when you started a thread claiming you were a rocket scientist). I already know a lot of college students, and some of them are or were math majors, so I don't have much to ask about that. If there's any basic math questions that I need answered I can just look them up on wikipedia.

    In general I think our society gives students too much false hope that getting a bachelor's degree in a subject will automatically make them a professional in that subject, when in fact there's a huuuuge gap that they'll still need to cross. For most subects, being a professional in that subject virtually requires them to become a college professor.
     
  2. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    Well, from Wikipedia:

    So IdiotsOpposite is quite literally a mathematician, at least at this juncture.
     
  3. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    By that definition, a 6 year old who's focusing really hard on learning arithmetic is also a mathematician. In a philosophical sense that might be true, but that's not the usual meaning of the word.
     
  4. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    Let's not do that. It says "primary area of study," not "momentary focus."
     
  5. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    OK, I tell you what. Go to a party and tell everyone there that you're a Rocket Scientist or Mathematician or whatever. See if they believe you.
     
  6. IdiotsOpposite

    IdiotsOpposite Boom, headshot.

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    All of this is kind of only tangentially related to the main point of the thread, isn't it? No, I do not get paid to work mathematics (yet). Yes, I do still have quite a bit of mathematical skill, and can answer the questions most people come up with.
     
  7. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

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    Don't forget my thread in sci/tech.

    I do maths every day as well, being a games programmer. Was doing some matrixy stuff yesterday.
     
  8. nc-1701

    nc-1701 bombombedum

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    Wandering in as a math major as well, graduating in may so I have (Calculus, Linear Algebra, Real Analysis, Abstract Algebra, Number Theory, Probability & Statistics, etc.) I also work as a math tutor and have applied to grad schools to pursue a PhD in the fall. I still wouldn't quite claim to be a "mathematician" but I'm not far off either.

    .9...=1, the simplest proof is algebraic.
    consider 1/3=0.3.... This is known to be true and easy to show. Now multiply by three on both sides. 3 * (1/3) = 3*0.3...
    so 1=3*0.3... => 1=0.9... Q.E.D.

    As for mathematical thinking it can be hard. I suck at 3D geometry, Calc 3 was awful for me I got an A but I didn't understand much of what I was doing. I just ignored what it meant and followed the algebraic representations. I find Calculus/Analysis irritating, but fairly easy, but I love Algebra and Number Theory and that type of thinking comes really easily to me. From my tutoring experience I feel like often times people just refuse to learn or understand, and they could do it if they just accepted and legitimately tried. Instead of freaking and being frightened and emotional about it. That goes even for other math majors who I see falling apart in theory classes, it's more of a mental block than anything else.
     
  9. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    What is the application of the field of mathematics you plan/think you'll study?

    Studying something as an expert and studying something as a student are two different things.
     
  10. SpiritWolf

    SpiritWolf Warlord

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    Four points are chosen at random on the surface of a sphere. What is the probability that the tetrahedron formed from those four points will contain the center of the sphere?
     
  11. IdiotsOpposite

    IdiotsOpposite Boom, headshot.

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    I'm planning to aim toward the study of partial differential equations as a focus. As I've seen lately, there's still a lot of work that can be done in that area! Failing that, a friend of mine is trying to urge me toward category theory. So who knows? Maybe that will strike my fancy.

    Well, first, I should urge you to remember that I haven't taken an official probability course yet. But after a bit of research, I do believe the answer to that would be .125, or a 1 in 8 chance.
     
  12. SpiritWolf

    SpiritWolf Warlord

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    Yes, that is the correct answer. :goodjob: Due to symmetry, the proof actually doesn't require probability theory (beyond 1/n) and can be reasoned out.
     
  13. IdiotsOpposite

    IdiotsOpposite Boom, headshot.

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    Woot!

    Now to celebrate. Root beer float!
     
  14. Quackers

    Quackers The Frog

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    2 + 2 = 4.

    Why?

    ..oh and I agree with the arrant pedantry too! An individual studying medicine should not make an "Ask a Doctor Thread"!
     
  15. nc-1701

    nc-1701 bombombedum

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    Well, 4 is defined as 3+1, 3 is defined as 2+1, and 2 is defined as 1+1, and addition is associate sooo....
    2+2=2+(1+1)=(2+1)+1=3+1=4. Obviously this uses an inductive definition of the numbers, but it makes sense its difficult to put together an elementary definition without that, or at least that's all I've seen.
     
  16. IdiotsOpposite

    IdiotsOpposite Boom, headshot.

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    I was just about to talk about the successor function! Ninja'd, I guess.
     
  17. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Differential equations have many diverse applications. What about category theory? From skimming the wiki article I think it's for computer science and programming problems.
     
  18. muhtesem insan

    muhtesem insan Amateur Revolutionary

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    Do you see mathematics as a science or an art form? Or is it neither but somethintg uniqe?
     
  19. suiraclaw

    suiraclaw Hell is other people

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    Currently studying Mathematics at my local university, 3rd year.

    I understand that your last sentence was probaly a hyperbole, but either way as it may intrest people here to know what mathematicians actually do after their studies: of the people who finish their math dergee here (that is, after at least 5 years studying, master diploma) around:
    - 25% doctorate (research)
    - 25% will go teach math in the last years of high school (so 16-18 year old pupils)
    - 25% end up in the finances and business sector (game theory, actuary, etc)
    - 25% end up in other kind of firmes, this is the broadest category and includes stuff like algoritms, physics, statistics, cryptografy, etc.
    (according to my university)

    Of course, this is just the situation here. It's by no means universal. Anyway, it's a misconception that it's hard to find a job doing maths (<1% unemployment 1 year after studies as well).

    edit: since I'm talking about job prospects, this is somewhat relevant as well: http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/10-best-jobs-2011
     
  20. Kozmos

    Kozmos Jew Detective

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    I've never heard anyone with a math degree have trouble finding jobs, hell I know physicists who work for banks and make mad money.
     

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