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Homework Help: Answers to Hassani "Mathematical Methods "?

  1. May 24, 2014 #1
    This book "Hassani - Mathematical Methods For Students of Physics and Related Fields 2nd Ed." doesn't have any answers to end-of-chapter problems.

    I feel like I'm shooting in the dark.

    Can anyone guide me regarding how I can acquire answers to some problems, let's say odd numbered ones? Or does anyone have solved some of it and willing to share answers only?

    I'll be willing to share my answers too.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    The answers are missing on purpose.
    When you have learned the material in the chapter, you will know whether you have the right answer or not.
    If you cannot tell if you have the right answer - then you did not learn the material well enough.
    If you need more examples, you can hunt them down online.

    Remember - the book is training you to be able to solve problems that nobody knows the answers to.
    You need to learn what "getting it right" feels like when there is nobody to ask.

    Welcome to Science :)
  4. Aug 3, 2016 #3
    Yeah, but it's only answers, not full solutions.
  5. Aug 3, 2016 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    That's a different issue to the one raised in post #1... but it has much the same responce.
  6. Aug 3, 2016 #5
    What's wrong by just knowing if your solution is correct? You might have done a dumb mistake(calculation mistake for example) and you want to know if you are correct. Also, even if one doesn't do dumb mistakes and did not really understand the material, he might get all the problems wrong and not know it! But, if he has answers, then he will realize that he has huge gaps in his understanding. Otherwise, he will just be ignorant. Books are not here to punish us but to teach us. I agree that solutions shouldn't exist, but answers are essential in my opinion.
  7. Aug 4, 2016 #6

    Simon Bridge

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    Please reread post #2 - it addresses most of your points... maybe I can clarify:
    If your final number matches the number in a list at the back of the text book - does that tell you your solution is "correct"? Maybe the author made a mistake? Maybe you got the same number by accident? How do you know?
    What you are saying is that it is nice to have some authority reassure you.
    However, "I got it right because the book answer agrees with mine" is called an "appeal to authority" - a fallacy that science students need to be taught to avoid. Besides - it is the method that is important, not getting the same number as the author.

    This is correct - however, it is unlikely that an honest, self-reflecting, student will make such a bad mistake without realizing that they don't know at least some of the material. In Hassani, the problems at the end of each chapter are quite reasonable - if you need the answer to check you have it right, you most likely did not understand the section. But no book is good for everyone - there will always be some circumstances where the approach is less than ideal.

    Text books in physics are seldom designed to teach - usually (ie see Hassani's comments in the introduction to the text in question) they are designed to accompany a guided education program. In this case, a lecture series with quizzes, tests, and an exam.

    A single text should never be a stand-alone resource: there are plenty of places to get examples and problems with their answers.
  8. Aug 4, 2016 #7
    I admit that you made me rethink some things that I thought were correct. But, not all students are equally strong. Some students might find the subject too difficult. So, they will seek reassurance from the answers at the end of a book n order to know if they are correct. It might be wrong, sure, but i suppose that not-so-strong students can't have it any other way. And this "appeal to authority" also happens between students and their professors, since most professors(most that I know of) give solutions to their exercises. Sure, they give them some weeks after the student handed over his assignment, but it's still appeal to authority as you eventually check if your solution is correct. Maybe it's too difficult for struggling (especially for undergraduates) to solve lot's of exercises without knowing if they are correct. Anyway, I will also try your way; I think it might pay off in the long run. My point is that we just have to also consider weaker students.
  9. Aug 6, 2016 #8

    Simon Bridge

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    I always consider weaker students. If a student is weaker - they need a different text for self study, and targeted guidance in guided study. This is where the inquirey approach to learning and teaching comes in.

    Profs usually give answers to exercises because that is where the assessment will be based: students need to understand what they need to do to get the marks. This is somewhat different from providing an exercise to learn maths or physics.

    Sometimes it is because the profs are not trained educators so do not really know what they are doing or they are just copying how they were taught, sometimes because they prefer a different teaching style to Hassini.
    Personally, when I provide model answers, I include some errors - encouraging students to question what they are told. For similar reasons, I break with my colleagues by never giving a mark for the final number in long-answers: just getting the right answer does not get any marks. Marks are awarded for evidence of behaviours I want to encourage. When it comes to help for text exercizes, I would provide related but scaffolded exercises in a separate sheet.

    Of course, a solo student, having bought this text by mistake, may rescue the situation without undue expense by referring to a list of answers ... what a lot of texts at Hassini's level do is put answers to every other problem for much this sort of reason. The student is still better off looking to a different resource.

    Even so: it is impossible to cater to every student in one book or in one class: some students are, justly, going to fail the course.

    I'm not saying "never to give answers to exercises", just that Hassini has deliberately withheld the answers for a reason. We should be careful not to defeat the purpose. We should also bear in mind that a lot of profs will set assignments from this kind of text book...
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