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Thread: Who's reading the math forums?

  1. #1 Who's reading the math forums? 
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
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    There hasn't been much activity in the math forum recently. We lost an active contributor in Guitarist, and the knowledgeable river_rat hasn't shown his face for a while. Most of the discussion now is between Demen Tolden and myself, with a smattering of bit4bit and, as is to be expected, a small dash of cranks. There are clearly a couple of lurkers (not that I'm not begging you all to come out of hiding... okay, I guess I am).

    I suppose the problem may be the lack of new topics. And I just realized I've never authored one, so I may as well kill two birds with one stone. Dear reader, indulge me...

    Who are you? What sort of background do you have in math? What are your favorite topics? What are you working on at the moment--mathwise or otherwise?

    And I must first divulge my own answers to these questions. I'm an American graduate student expecting to get my doctorate in Spring 2009. My favorite topic and current area of research is algebraic number theory; algebra in general appeals to me, although I am also in awe of the beauty of the complex numbers and seem to remember enjoying measure theory back in the day. Currently, I'm working on some problems in modular forms--nowadays I'm mostly scouring the literature, learning the results and picking up the necessary tools. In addition to research, my duties as a grad student also include teaching, which I rather enjoy. In general, I enjoy talking about math. Which is why I come to this forum. To talk about math.

    Now you go.


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  3. #2 Re: Who's reading the math forums? 
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpicojr
    There hasn't been much activity in the math forum recently. We lost an active contributor in Guitarist, and the knowledgeable river_rat hasn't shown his face for a while. Most of the discussion now is between Demen Tolden and myself, with a smattering of bit4bit and, as is to be expected, a small dash of cranks. There are clearly a couple of lurkers (not that I'm not begging you all to come out of hiding... okay, I guess I am).

    I suppose the problem may be the lack of new topics. And I just realized I've never authored one, so I may as well kill two birds with one stone. Dear reader, indulge me...

    Who are you? What sort of background do you have in math? What are your favorite topics? What are you working on at the moment--mathwise or otherwise?

    And I must first divulge my own answers to these questions. I'm an American graduate student expecting to get my doctorate in Spring 2009. My favorite topic and current area of research is algebraic number theory; algebra in general appeals to me, although I am also in awe of the beauty of the complex numbers and seem to remember enjoying measure theory back in the day. Currently, I'm working on some problems in modular forms--nowadays I'm mostly scouring the literature, learning the results and picking up the necessary tools. In addition to research, my duties as a grad student also include teaching, which I rather enjoy. In general, I enjoy talking about math. Which is why I come to this forum. To talk about math.
    Now you go.
    I love maths but am not all that great at it. I can do some algebra but I'm not that good with everything else. Personally I'd love to learn calculus, vectors and tensors but it's going to be a while before I understand it yet alone talk here with you guys.


    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  4. #3 Re: Who's reading the math forums? 
    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpicojr
    Who are you? What sort of background do you have in math? What are your favorite topics? What are you working on at the moment--mathwise or otherwise?
    I'm a freshman in college. I took my Calc. I final just today and next semester I'm taking Calc. 2. I'll also be taking statistics before I leave my current college (I'm transferring after two years to another one). I really love math but have a pretty difficult time with it, sadly enough. I've enjoyed calculus, though in general I love every area of math. I love finding math stuff on Wikipedia and messing around with it. I just downloaded the Derive 6 demo on my laptop and have been messing around with graphing stuff in 3-space, trying to obtain a better understanding of that. Eventually I wish to double major in conservation biology and chemistry (possibly a concentration in biochem), but for now I'm just getting the basics out of the way. So, in conclusion, even though I'm not the greatest at it I really love math and I will certainly always continue to expand my knowledge of it.
    "There is a kind of lazy pleasure in useless and out-of-the-way erudition." -Jorge Luis Borges
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Hey Serpico

    Nice question. Sorry I've been away for a week and so was unable to keep the maths forum active (Ha! As though I ever initiated a post!). Anyway, to respond to your question(s):

    1. My background in maths is basic (at least, as far as I can tell) - algebra at school (or you might call it High School - I was educated in India and the terminology and structure are slightly different) level. Basic trig (I can tell a sine from a cosine, but cannot even begin to talk about all the identity formulae used in trig). The merest starter-for-ten on calculus/analysis (I appreciate the notions of limits, differentiation and integration, but cannot 'do' any of it except the most basic "from first principles" stuff). Very little geometry (certainly of the Cartesian, as opposed to Euclidean, form).

    2. My primary interests, such as they are, are armchair ones. I don't actually 'do' maths, since nothing about my life concerns it in any way. When I have the time and the inclination, I work through one or two books I have, just to get back up to speed on solving quadratic equations and working arithmetically with surds and so on (though I constantly have to keep looking up 'surd' and suchlike words!).

    3. So I am interested in 'number theory' (though what I talk about is probably far removed from the mathematical subject) because I am primarily interested in the philosophical notion of mathematics as invention versus mathematics as discovery. (Are numbers 'out there'? Can and should mathematical entities be treated as platonic absolutes as so many mathematicians and philosophers claim? Is it best viewed as an extended tautology as Ayer would suggest? Etc) It is in this regard that I half-started on another thread, if you remember, an idea I've been playing about with for some time - regarding the relationship between pi and e (the famous equality e^i.pi -1 = 0).

    4. In terms of my ability, therefore, to comprehend maths, I am severely limited. My only 'triumph' ever was when I independently figured out (after reading Simon Singh's The Code Book) that the the factorisation problem (N = pq where p and q are large primes) is easier if one treats it as a^2 - b^2 = N, where a = (p + q)/2 and b = (p - q)/2. Apparently Euler (or Gauss?) got there first, but I hadn't read of his result when I figured this one out. In fact I thought (oh foolish and naive person that I am) that I might have been the first, but Devlin's Mathematics: The New Golden Age quickly disabused me of that notion.

    Apologies if this is too verbose, but there you go - don't ask questions if you're not prepared for the answers!

    cheer

    shanks
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  6. #5  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Demen Tolden's Avatar
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    Figured I would post this here from a previous post of mine:

    I took all the math classes I could when I was in highschool, and took AP Calc in my senior year, but that year I was really having a much stronger developing interest in art and ended up going to college for computer animation. Computer animation may relate to this because after working in it for a long time I've developed a stronger "3D imagination." I am 28 years old now, and haven't used much math beyond algebra since my highschool years.
    except of course I am now learning calc again, which I remembered almost nothing from.
    The most important thing I have learned about the internet is that it needs lot more kindness and patience.
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  7. #6  
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    I glance at the math forum but it's kind of dry. In terms of background I took 4-5 calc classes at college - the last classes were stuff like partial derivatives, differential equations, that level of stuff. I don't remember most of it though beyond basic derivatives/integration. I certainly don't use any of it in my job.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    Math is very very boring! It's only interesting when it's in relation to something, which would fall under one of the other subjects. That's why most of the discussion is under those subjects.
    Wolf
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    "Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you." Alan Alda
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  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    I'm a graduate Computer Scientist, but I have a B.S. in Math, so I also consider myself a mathematician. Math is fun. Unfortunately, most of the math questions I have can be answered by Wikipedia, so I haven't been posting many topics. They few I have posted, no one else knew the answer to either. Oh well.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Masters Degree bit4bit's Avatar
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    Hi Serpicojr, you are probably familiar with my level of maths already. As for me, I live in the UK, and next year I'm starting a degree in electronic engineering. I haven't had any formal classes for electronics before unfortunately, but I've done it at home for a while as a hobby. I've just sent off a PCB design for an ICSP (in-circuit-serial-programmer) and I'm waiting for the circuit board to be made. (for programming microcontrollers)

    And, as you know I'm just exploring multivariable calculus. I also enjoy mechanics, physics, and even some chemistry (Though my knowledge of that is limited). In the past, I have looked into lots of other areas of maths, including set theory, probabilty, statistics, trig, geometry, abstract algebra, numerical analysis, and (through my interest in fluid dynamics) dynamic systems and CFD, though alot of that I've never studied in depth. I even had a look at some Riemannian geometry the other day.....completely lost with that one! :?

    My sparse posting is not out of a lack of interest, but a lack of free time. I too really enjoy maths, and and love exploring more and more of it, and discussing it here.

    So you're taking a mathematics degree? Enjoying it? What you hoping to do after?

    Cheers! bit4bit
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  11. #10  
    Forum Professor wallaby's Avatar
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    It's been along time since i last posted here. I graduated highschool recently and did rather well in the two maths subjects i was doing. now i'll probably be starting University in march where i plan to be doing a bachelor of mathematics and a bachelor of applied science.

    i enjoy maths as a whole but i have to say i have a habbit of reading into subjects that are over my head, sometimes even way over my head. now that i've got too much free time on my hands maybe i'll stick around here again.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Professor river_rat's Avatar
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    Hey serpicojr

    Sorry for being so quite my side, had a family crisis here and then work pilled up to the ceiling. Oh well, that is life.

    I'm finishing off a Masters in Mathematics in Topological Algebra's (not sure how that equates to the US system, we do a 1-2 year MSC by dissertation followed by a 2-3 year PhD by thesis instead of a 5 year doctoral programme, assuming your doctoral programme takes that long) which pretty much boils down to horrible transfinite constructions and the Stone-Cech compactification of a semigroup at the moment lol (jargon aargh)
    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Professor serpicojr's Avatar
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    Thanks all for responding! I'm glad to see that there is still some interest in this forum and that we have a good-sized core of participants.

    Oh and...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Math is very very boring! It's only interesting when it's in relation to something, which would fall under one of the other subjects.
    What the fuck?
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  14. #13  
    Cooking Something Good MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    I'd love to join in the conversation in the math forum...only problem....I have to take off my shoes to count higher than 10.
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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  15. #14 Re: Who's reading the math forums? 
    Forum Freshman Faldo_Elrith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpicojr
    We lost an active contributor in Guitarist, and the knowledgeable river_rat hasn't shown his face for a while.
    I hope we haven't lost serpicojr, who hasn't shown up for a while, either.
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  16. #15 Re: Who's reading the math forums? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpicojr
    There hasn't been much activity in the math forum recently. We lost an active contributor in Guitarist, and the knowledgeable river_rat hasn't shown his face for a while. Most of the discussion now is between Demen Tolden and myself, with a smattering of bit4bit and, as is to be expected, a small dash of cranks. There are clearly a couple of lurkers (not that I'm not begging you all to come out of hiding... okay, I guess I am).

    I suppose the problem may be the lack of new topics.
    So this was what the Mathematics forum was like once upon a time?
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  17. #16  
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    In reply to the OP:

    I have no training , or occupational interest in, mathematics per se. (You asked).

    I always check the math forum. I just tried to analyse why… no short answer.



    I think my imagination is excited by ‘math’ when expressed in terms of how it adds to (my) Big Picture of the universe.

    The prevalence of the ‘Fibonacci’ ratio in nature (and it’s inherent base simplicity) was and is an epiphany, as far as math and my world goes.

    The sinuosity of rivers is (basically) a relation between pi and the gradient of the land. That is neat. In more ways than one.

    Etc.


    I guess I’m just a pattern-appreciating monkey, and simple maths shows me a lot of patterns.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpicojr
    Thanks all for responding! I'm glad to see that there is still some interest in this forum and that we have a good-sized core of participants.

    Oh and...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Math is very very boring! It's only interesting when it's in relation to something, which would fall under one of the other subjects.
    What the fuck?
    You heard him correctly. It is true. If you are alive math is for doing things. If you are a computer I guess there is nothing more exciting then running things through the ram and error checking the ram.

    I am here. Ha-ha.



    Sincerely,


    William McCormick
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  19. #18 Re: Who's reading the math forums? 
    Forum Masters Degree thyristor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpicojr
    There hasn't been much activity in the math forum recently. We lost an active contributor in Guitarist, and the knowledgeable river_rat hasn't shown his face for a while. Most of the discussion now is between Demen Tolden and myself, with a smattering of bit4bit and, as is to be expected, a small dash of cranks. There are clearly a couple of lurkers (not that I'm not begging you all to come out of hiding... okay, I guess I am).

    I suppose the problem may be the lack of new topics. And I just realized I've never authored one, so I may as well kill two birds with one stone. Dear reader, indulge me...

    Who are you? What sort of background do you have in math? What are your favorite topics? What are you working on at the moment--mathwise or otherwise?

    And I must first divulge my own answers to these questions. I'm an American graduate student expecting to get my doctorate in Spring 2009. My favorite topic and current area of research is algebraic number theory; algebra in general appeals to me, although I am also in awe of the beauty of the complex numbers and seem to remember enjoying measure theory back in the day. Currently, I'm working on some problems in modular forms--nowadays I'm mostly scouring the literature, learning the results and picking up the necessary tools. In addition to research, my duties as a grad student also include teaching, which I rather enjoy. In general, I enjoy talking about math. Which is why I come to this forum. To talk about math.

    Now you go.
    Toy actyally authored one a while ago, "elementary muber theory" :-D .
    373 13231-mbm-13231 373
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  20. #19 Re: Who's reading the math forums? 
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpicojr
    There hasn't been much activity in the math forum recently.
    Happily that has all changed in the last few weeks.
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