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How can i become a pure mathematician?

  1. Jan 10, 2012 #1
    Can anyone help with how can i become one...Just for hobby..Ive checked out http://hbpms.blogspot.com/ but some guys think that this is overkill so maybe anyone can help me with this...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2012 #2
    Uuuh, you're not giving enough information here. So the only way I can answer this is: Go into college and major in mathematics.
  4. Jan 10, 2012 #3
    You're doing this for a hobby? I'm a math major and I'm under the impression that being a mathematician is more like an occupation.
  5. Jan 10, 2012 #4


    Staff: Mentor

  6. Jan 14, 2012 #5
    I'm sorry for not giving enough information about me...Ok..let me tell you about myself...I was a straight A's student until i was 16..Then everything started to go downhill for me..I study less..have fun more..sleep in class..everything.I was one arrogant son of a cow(I'm still on the top of the class without much effort)..

    When my dad found out about that..he was basically furious..My dad and i don't get along well anyway...So he forbid me from going to university although i can..So i have to work..doing repetitive works,surrounded by 'dull' co-workers...Down into the deepest abyss and back(depression)...

    So..i found someone that i really like..thinking of marriage(im 24) and maybe to continue my study ..I don't have enough money for both..But i know to continue living i have to hold on to something..mathematics would be one of those things...

    What would u feel when u look at someone u know that has actually accomplished something..earn more than u?And he's not as smart as you are?(inferiority complex but who cares?)
  7. Jan 14, 2012 #6
    Do you realize that a lot of people who have a great passion for mathematics don't end up being mathematicians? How do you know that you even like math? At this point you don't even know what math is. You've completed High School, great. But you've still never done real math.

    Secondly, regarding the inferiority complex you mention, I'm at a loss for words. It's likely that the person who has accomplished more than you has also put in more work and effort than you have. It's really not about smarts, it's about how dedicated and hard-working one is. Anyone can make it in math (IMO), some just have to work harder than others.

    Maybe you could pick up a hobby like badminton or chess. I don't mean to discourage you, but math is years of work.
  8. Jan 14, 2012 #7
    I do know something about math..learn calculus by myself at 13..proved that the escape velocity of a black hole is c by 15(using schwarzschild radius equation and some newtonian physics)...But i want to know more...its just like if i'm dancing but i missed a step and i ruin the whole routine..And now i'm trying to be myself again..

    Its like if between 16-24 everything about myself has been changed..beyond recognition...Trying to piece everything back..My life..my view of the world...I believe that i was meant for something great..Not just to procreate and then off to the nether world...
  9. Jan 15, 2012 #8
    How much math do you know now? If you were able to do something like that at 15 I find it difficult to imagine you need help figuring out how to be a pure mathematician. It would seem someone with such skills would know to get a book on real analysis, complex analysis, topology, algebra and maybe number theory and then, once they have a good grasp of 'upper division level' math, move onto graduate level texts.
  10. Jan 15, 2012 #9
    Nothing wrong with having math as a hobby.

    It's awfully hard these days to make contributions without getting a PhD. I think there may be a few who still pull it off. Fermat and Cayley are famous mathematicians who were actually lawyers, for whom math was more of a "hobby", albeit a very serious one.

    But you don't have to make contributions. You can just do it for the hell of it. Nothing wrong with that. Even though I am getting a PhD, it may end up being just a hobby for me, although in my case, I plan to do some very useful expository work that isn't completely "just for the hell of it". I may even continue publishing original research. Einstein was a patent officer when he was doing a lot of his groundbreaking work. Of course, that was a long time ago, when things were a bit easier. But I think it's still possible.

    That's much more difficult than you might imagine. Even if you're a great mathematician, your contribution to society might be very, very indirect, although, I believe, if you do well enough, it will be a significant one. Even if you are very good, unless you are one of the all time greatest, there's someone else who could step in and take your place. There's not that much glory in it, anyway. Don't do it for glory. Do it because you love it.

    By the way, the link sort of is over-kill, especially if it's just a hobby. Not by that much. You have to know a lot. But it's better to be more focused. At some point, you ought to have a goal. You should try to make what you learn hang together well, not just study a random jumble of topics that have no relation to each other and with no goal in mind.
  11. Jan 16, 2012 #10
    Thanks hemeomorphic...I'm not really trying to be the greatest mathematician of all time or anything..its just that i use to love mathematics..and i gave up my study for chess,musics,and trying to fit in with others...So i'm just thinking maybe i should start again on the journey..

    Mathematics and physics always fascinate me...And like u said i want to make everything connect..so everything can fit together...everything that i've learn and i will learn...
  12. Jan 16, 2012 #11


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  13. Jan 16, 2012 #12
    The 'downplay IQ' movement is an example of political correctness. Hard work is important but IQ more so.
  14. Jan 16, 2012 #13
    That's very misleading. The phrase "more so" could not possibly have any meaning in this context.

    First of all, IQ is a statistical concept. It only measures overall trends.

    Secondly, IQ suggests that intelligence is 1-dimensional. But it's not. Different people have different strengths and weaknesses. That may translate into being great at one kind of math, but not so good at another kind. Maybe one person will have a great geometrical intuition and someone else may have great technical skills. One person may have an exceptional memory and another person may have unbeatable concentration and focus. To the extent that IQ even measures intelligence, it tends to average all these things out into one thing, and in doing so, it loses too much information to be that useful of a concept.

    Thirdly, we live in a world where people are not taught how to use their brains effectively. Because of this painfully obvious and absurd lack of emphasis on HOW to do things effectively, we often frame things in terms of talent and hard work as if those were the only two things that are involved, in blatant disregard for reality. In fact, it's initially impossible to tell the difference between "talent" and just having happened to be doing things the right way by dumb luck. Or perhaps the more intelligent people are better at finding the right way of doing it. But it can still be taught.

    Genetics play some role. As does upbringing, which, after the fact, you have as little control over as you do with genetics. But there are other very important factors to being successful.
  15. Jan 16, 2012 #14

    IQ is defined as one's abilities to grasp and synthesize abstract concepts. A person with a higher IQ can comprehend instructions in a shorter time period than that a lower IQ person, and make new inferences with the information that a lower IQ person would overlook. The IQ tests are designed to ascribe a numerical value to this ability that is normally distributed.
  16. Jan 16, 2012 #15
    That may be how IQ is defined, but that is not strictly how it works out. You can perhaps use IQs to overall group people say, (0,50), [50,100), etc. But a person with an IQ of 130 is not necessarily smarter than a person with an IQ of, say, 120 in any meaningful sense of the word smart.
  17. Jan 16, 2012 #16
    Actually the point of IQ is to measure g or general intelligence. This has only a statistical meaning. The point is that different tests of mental abilities tend to be correlated with each other. IQ is just one representative test that is singled out for that purpose. If you do well on IQ tests, then, statistically, you will probably do better on other tests. This discussion is fairly qualitative, so it doesn't give a very good feel for the actual results of these studies. And without understanding the actually mechanisms for intelligence, I would say it provides a pretty limited viewpoint.

    As far as speed, that can obviously be compensated for by hard work, concentration, and time management. As for making new inferences, IQ can hardly tell you the whole story on that, as I stated in my previous comment.
  18. Jan 16, 2012 #17


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    Comprehension is important but creativity to me is a lot more important.

    It's a lot easier to tell people what to do than to ask them to figure it out themselves.

    I remember seeing a documentary on a maximum security prison where in one section they had some of the top dogs of particular gangs and organized crime outfits.

    These guys, despite all the measures taken to isolate them from everyone else still managed to get out orders to the ones under them all the way out of prisons to do deals, murders and the like. They were completely isolated.

    One particular outfit used the Enigma cryptosystem to communicate and the NSA was asked to crack it since no-one lower could.

    Now I don't know about you, but having the ability to communicate to people to things like muders while being monitored 24 hours a day, having all of your mail and communication (like phone calls) monitored, having no physical contact with anyone else is impressive to me.

    Hell one of them even used a communication code like morse code and by banging pipes was able to communicate with people beneath them in the criminal hierarchy to do stuff.

    If this isn't intelligence then I don't know what is.
  19. May 26, 2012 #18
    I can see myself in this boy...i ran away from things that i am not good at..give up easily...But anyway..right now i'm studying human resources management...i'm back on track after a very long and rough ride on the bumpy road next to the track..i am pursuing my Phd..And maybe after that..i'll continue with mathematics...Being 30 or 40 doesn't mean that its too late...
  20. Sep 2, 2012 #19
    so your dad's punishment is to forbid you from going to college? That's rather unusual
  21. Oct 11, 2012 #20
    Ya..it's unusual,but if you know him...that's normal FOR him...
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