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Can it happen

  1. Apr 28, 2005 #1
    i am 16 a high school grad i wanted 2 know if it was possible for me 2 be the greatest mathematician of all times ,already my friends call me the goat i.e the greatest of all times pls let me know
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2005 #2


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    Are sure that's what they mean by "goat"?
  4. Apr 28, 2005 #3


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    No, it cannot happen.
    Your posts shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what maths is about.
    Sorry if I'm too blunt for your taste.
  5. Apr 28, 2005 #4
    This is a joke....right......?????
  6. Apr 28, 2005 #5
    Well they certainly weren't referring to your English, grammar, typing, or punctuation abilities.
  7. Apr 28, 2005 #6
    Well, if is a joke, I am amused. Do not get big headed, if this really is your goal, it makes it more difficult to accept your mistakes and move on or let yourself be corrected.
  8. Apr 28, 2005 #7
    "You're a pile of crap."
    "Oh, I'm just saying you are good at History."
    "Oh, thanks."

    What level math are you taking now? Unless you are taking Calculus already, you are setting your self up for a giant failure. (He said greatest of all time, not just great)

  9. Apr 28, 2005 #8
    Hmm.. if that is the approach you will take, as theCandyman said earlier, you're only setting yourself up for failure.

    The vast majority of us will never be exceptional (like world-class famous) in everything, and that is something we will have to accept. I myself am a mediocre track runner, placed last in every event, but I really could care less. In academics, I am not at the top, nor do I want to be classified as such; and I consider myself by no means "smart", because there is always more to learn. And as long as you have that mentality, and have the willingness to learn, in my opinion, it will take you as far as you want to go.

    Always be willing to learn new things, get excited about it, and enjoy it. Never cease to ask questions in the classroom, and ask them out of it. Because by doing these, you will gain better knowledge in what you are trying to learn, and it is through this that perhaps fame through noteworthy achievements will come.

    Happiness can come through other means than fame, so we shouldn't be bent over trying to gain the popularity and acceptance of others until we have found our own happiness.
  10. Apr 28, 2005 #9
    This is way too serious a response for a person (the OP) who shouldn't really be taken seriously to begin with.
  11. Apr 28, 2005 #10


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    Eh, I'm taking ODE, now, and I certainly don't see myself as becoming a first-class mathematician. I'm fairly certain I'll be a competent one. Regardless, being able to take courses at a young age (as myself) does not guarantee anything.
  12. Apr 28, 2005 #11

    If this is your goal, I think it would be fair to spend more time doing maths instead of asking such a question in a forum :smile: . Don't you think that you could have learnt something new in the time it took you to write such a post?
  13. Apr 28, 2005 #12
    I don't know what ODE is, but if he wants to be the best there ever was, don't you think he'd have to already be damn good? "The best there ever was" is a combination of working extremely hard and an assload of luck to get the right genes to be able to understand everything, and making sure you don't like get run over by a car when you are 3. He'd have to already be really really gifted to ever hope of becoming "the best".

    Being good and the best are two different things. I hope to be a good physicist or engineer one day, but I know I will never be "the best".

    Being good means working your ass off. But to be the best you have to be gifted too.

  14. Apr 28, 2005 #13
    In all likelyhood, ordinary differential equations.
  15. Apr 28, 2005 #14


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    of course it is possible!! [not likely maybe, but possible]

    however having as your goal to be the best of all time, would you be disappointed if you were only 3rd best?

    Considering who is out there it is not too shabby to be even 10,000 th best, in my humble opinion.

    The point is, it is a fun subject to work in, and the food is good. if you have "the love", come on in!

    one suggestion: when you meet someone who knows a lot more than you, or who seems smarter, try not to say "argggh.... there goes my chance!!", say instead, "wow!! here is someone who can help me get better!"
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2005
  16. Apr 28, 2005 #15
    Or you can think of it as an opportunity to move yourself up by 1, and eliminate him. J/K of course.

    The only people I've ever seen/heard of that had a goal of being the best and accomplished it were seriously crazy (as in, they actually believed they were more than human). Athletes, generals, etc.

    Mathwonk has the best advice. Do something you like, regardless of whether you are good at it or not.

    By the way, I wasn't aware that there were even 10k mathmaticians in the world. :p

  17. Apr 29, 2005 #16
    There are around six and a half billion people in the world. If there were only 10000 mathematicians, then about [itex]10000/(6.5 \cdot 10^{7}) \% = 1.54\cdot 10^{-4} \% [/itex] of people would be mathematicians. Let's compare this to an actual situation.

    There are around 750000 people in the city I live in, and (very conservative numbers here - I would say that there could easily be double what I state, and these are only tenure-track faculty and full-time students doing theses) probably seventy five are mathematics professors, and another seventy five are graduate students in mathematics at one of the two local universities. This makes around [itex]150/ 7500 \% = 2 \cdot 10^{-2} \%[/itex] of people in my city mathematicians. According to the number above (10000 mathematicians in the world), this means that my city would have at least a hundred times as many mathematicians as you would expect. I find this a little unlikely.

    If we use the percentage that I got for my city as the global percentage (which is probably reasonable considering how conservative I was with the numbers - likely, a city will have a higher percentage than most places in the world, but since I was conservative to start with, this is ok), we expect about [itex](6.5\cdot 10^9)(2 \cdot 10^{-4}) = 1.3[/itex] million mathematicians in the world, which is a few more than [itex]10000[/itex] :wink:
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2005
  18. Apr 29, 2005 #17
    I was just basing it on the fact that mathematics is the most mind-numbing subject on the planet. It takes a certain type of person to be able to withstand all of it. And of those special people, maybe a handful would actually like doing it.

    Note, that by mathematician I mean only those with Ph.D's in Math. Not your regular school teacher, they don't count. My HS calculus teacher was a literature major in college. I think there is a huge line between being able to say "I have a degree in..." and "I am a..." But maybe it's just semantics.

  19. Apr 29, 2005 #18
    if you included schoolteachers there would quite easily be tens of millions of "mathematicians" in the world. Regardless, the "realistic" percentage that I came up with was still only [itex]2 \cdot 10^{-2}\%[/itex]. That still would mean that only 1 in every 5000 people is a mathematician, on average.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2005
  20. Apr 29, 2005 #19
    Becoming the greatest mathematician of all time isn't like trynig for an employment in some random company. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of curiosity, and natural intellectual ability.

    I hope you really are joking with this post.
  21. Apr 29, 2005 #20
    It is logically impossible for you to know this. To be the "greatest mathematician of all times", you will have to know the greatness of all mathematicians from the future as well as the past. If mathematics has anything to do with logic, your question suggests that greatness in mathematics is not a possibility for you.
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