Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Calculus is boring

  1. Mar 20, 2005 #1
    In cacl I, it was really fun. Quite mind blowing when I was first exposed to it a little over a year ago. I decided I wanted to major in mathematics. I took calc 2 concurrently with "matrix theory and linear algebra". calc 2 was boring, just techniques of integration, highly mechanical. matrix theory was alright, completely different, and i don't think i could appreciate it until calc 3.

    i'm in cacl 3 right now. at first, it was pretty cool. i like how we are doing stuff in 3d, but, it is still so mechanical. for every question it's an easy solution, just figure out if you need to use a graidient, or what you need the volume of. there isn't much creativity involved.

    Is this common? Is it because i'm at medium sized school (10,000 or so undergrad) and so it's more about "job training" than really learning stuff? is it because there is very little class discussion (everyone, myself included, is just very quiet, very passive... i wish i could talk more, but, i just don't ever see anywhere to diverge)

    i'm taking abstract algebra next fall, and i'm hoping that is going to be more interesting. lots of stuff related to solving puzzles. i'm also thinkign about taking an independant study course to nurture my love for mathematics that i first felt in cacl1

    Last edited: Mar 20, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    you are boring.
  4. Mar 20, 2005 #3

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    and you are mean and horrible...
    but funny! :rofl:
  5. Mar 20, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    lol greatest response ever

    In response to the thread though. Math is very boring lol. Its practically the definition of mechanical. Math is a very concrete science, theres no room in mathematics for 'creativity' because for every problem, theres 1 single answer (unless you get into grad stuff or research) to everything and nto a whole lot you can relate to the real world.
  6. Mar 20, 2005 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    All subjects are boring until you get the chance to experience their power firsthand. After I started doing research, I rediscovered a lot of subjects I had previously dismissed as mind-numbing (such as linear algebra). :cool:
  7. Mar 20, 2005 #6
    Go beyond the class, if it's not thorough enough for you. Once you get into analysis and modern algebra it will get much more abstract, and much more fun.
  8. Mar 20, 2005 #7
    I disagree. mathematics can and is a creative art as much as a science, at least, i feel as though that is the case. it's beautiful. i'm just, i guess sick of going through the motions. i was really good at first of building it up by hand, knowing all the proofs, or, at the least, where things came about, how they worked, and why they worked. now i just don't do that, don't have time, dont' care because at a glance i think "well, yeah, i guess i can see how that would relate..... somehow...".

    i am excited for my independant study class. also, fall of 2006 i am going to go and do the "Math in Moscow" program, which i'm sure will accelerate me into some really great stuff..... i guess i just gotta sit tight...
  9. Mar 20, 2005 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well i think hes new to it so thats why its boring. You cant tell me your creativity flourished in the first 3 semesters of calc hehe. And like i said, once you get into grad, it gets fun.
  10. Mar 20, 2005 #9
    "he" being the original poster, and the person you were replying to! :wink:
  11. Mar 20, 2005 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Im horrible when it comes to keeping track of who im talking to lol. You should see the first forum im frome. Names are small and all we have is hte avatar to really pay attention to. Man.... got people confused like nobodys business (there were a lot of default avatars to choose from :))
  12. Mar 20, 2005 #11
    This description makes it sound as if your classes have not been challenging you. Grab a copy of "Calculus on Manifolds" by Spivak or Differential Calculus by Courant, or if you're feeling adventurous a book on intro. topology and go through it with your favourite math professor (a reading course). This will alleviate your boredom. :biggrin:
  13. Mar 20, 2005 #12
    I don't understand.. how can Calc 2 and 3 be any less interesting than Calc 1? Sure, the mechanics of the mathematics may be boring and even tediously long at times, but the concepts to me are quite fascinating. I had a fun time trying to think of solids of revolution with non-linear axies of rotation, where many wobbles and precessions take over. I also have a great deal of fun trying to teach others Calculus, conceptually explaining the topic and then going into the mathematics involved.

    Try focusing on the concepts moreso than the mechanics. Algebra itself can be dreadfully boring if all you think about are the x's and the y's. Get into the material like you did in Calc 1. Its much more gratifying. Continue to question everything that you are not sure of, and even apply the stuff that you do know in unrealistic and odd circumstances for fun.

    Simple.. talk more. In my class I find myself the only one talking, but I am also the only one asking questions about the concepts as well. It certainly is better than not doing anything at all and sitting in class. Even if you are the only one talking, don't let that keep you from trying to learn. Keep the passion alive, and it will work to your advantage.
  14. Mar 20, 2005 #13
    I agree with the initial poster, math in lower years (here especially before university) is incredibly boring and enerving. Still, it will get better when you climb up in university years :)
  15. Mar 20, 2005 #14
    Advanced math is not "boring mechanical calclation" it is about about proofs. Thats where the "non-mechanical" stuff kicks in. In advanced math classes, no one "counts" or integrates anything.
  16. Mar 20, 2005 #15
    Well, there are high-level calculation-based math courses too. But those are for engineers and physicists, not mathematicians~
  17. Mar 20, 2005 #16


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    so you are taking boring classes. why? are there no honors level classes at your school? are you unable to speak and ask questions in your class? are you unable to read and look up books in the library? are you afraid to meet professors and have conversations with them?

    obviously many people find math fascinating. if you are not, is it someone else's fault?
  18. Mar 20, 2005 #17
    you may call me a freak, but i think simplifying equations is fun!
  19. Mar 21, 2005 #18


    User Avatar

    To a certain degree, I would think so. Learning math up through the high school level was one of the most unbearable educational experiences of my life. The teachers seemed to almost try to make the subject mind-numbingly dull (and in my case succeeded). It wasn't until junior college that I got a chance to take an introductory physics course with an excellent teacher, that showed me the true beauty of math in one of its many direct applications.
  20. Mar 23, 2005 #19
    I've taken Abstract Algebra, and by far it is the most interesting, but the most difficult. I loved it. Highly doubt that you'll encounter "puzzles"........maybe tons of proofs.
  21. Mar 23, 2005 #20

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Dare I suggest that your Calc 2 class was subpar?

    The main ideas in Calc I are limits and differentiation. It doesn't get more mechanical than that. Calc II, on the other hand, has as two of its main themes techniques of integration and infinite series. That demands creativity, because if you make a poor choice of integration techniques or tests for convergence/divergence of a series, your problem can be very difficult. But with clever choices, they become easy. Therein lies the challenge, and the fun.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook