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Confidence with maths/physics goes as tan(t)?

  1. Jan 10, 2012 #1
    Am I the only one whos confidence with maths and physics goes as tan(t)?
    It's been going like this for the past ~2 years..

    I'll be learning from a book pretty well, I'll get all the problems done and I'll feel on top of the world, then something will come along, it might be a skipped step in a derivation or a later problem that uses something that was in a previous chapter and I'll be stuck on it for the longest time and bam, my confidence in my abilities shoots away down to -inf, only to get built back up to +inf in the next few chapters.

    Every time I go to learn something.. every time

    Anyone else got any similar stories?

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2012 #2


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    mine has to be modeled on a complex plane
  4. Jan 10, 2012 #3
    Being a mathematician is a very depressing something:

    We see a problem, we think about it for hours and days. We don't sleep because we're thinking about the problem. We feel sad because we think others might have found it immediately.
    Then we find it and we think we're stupid because the answer was so easy and we should have found it immediately. So we feel depressed about not feeling smart enough.
    Then we try another problem and the process repeats.

    And then somebody asks us why we do mathematics? Well, because we like it. :biggrin:

    It are the highs right after finding a solution that makes all of it worthwhile.
  5. Jan 11, 2012 #4


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    I remember twofish-quant refering to this as a kind of "intellectual sadimasochism (or sadism)".

    Every time I visit this forum and see some of the knowledge and insight on these forums, it's amazing. It's kind of like a huge slap in the face when you think you know even a little bit about science/engineering/mathematics/etc.
  6. Jan 11, 2012 #5


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    At work we call it "post-success depression". A bit like post-natal depression, after giving birth to your intellectual baby. Suddenly not having a reason for working 90 hours week on a problem can be very disorienting!
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