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How often do you need to refresh your memory?

  1. Twice a year

    10 vote(s)
  2. Once a year

    8 vote(s)
  3. Once every 2 years

    1 vote(s)
  4. Once every 3 years

    0 vote(s)
  5. Once every 4 years

    0 vote(s)
  6. Once every 5 years

    0 vote(s)
  7. I never forget any math topic I learn!

    1 vote(s)
  1. Oct 23, 2007 #1
    Some math topics you've studied you will rarely use again. How well do you find that you remember all the fine details of these topics that you rarely use?

    By the way, I'm back after one year. Anyone miss me?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2007 #2
    How cow. I don't recognize any of the names on the online list.
  4. Oct 23, 2007 #3
    Depends on the topic. Sometimes you never forget, sometimes I forget 5 seconds after I just used it.
  5. Oct 23, 2007 #4
    I mean a subject that you studied as much as in an actual course (hence a course at your level at the time), did the problems, even got tested, etc... But you never used the topic ever again.

    For example, suppose you just finished a course in ring theory, and you never used ring theory again. After one year, would you be able to pick up your old ring theory textbook and tackle those problems without saying "Man, I forgot all this." ?
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  6. Oct 23, 2007 #5


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Absolutely not. But, after reading through the relevant material I would like to think I'd be able to have a go. After all, it seems pointless trying to remember everything you've ever been taught. That's what textbooks are for!
  7. Oct 23, 2007 #6
    who do you think we are? all enrico fermis and paul diracs and gausses?
  8. Oct 23, 2007 #7
    The question is fairly vague. It depends on how thoroughly you cemented the math into your brain in the first place. Some things I forget in a month, others I never forget.
  9. Oct 23, 2007 #8
    I know what you meant, and the answer is the same. In particular, it's been a year since I looked at anything to do with group theory or ring theory, and despite doing very well in both, I could remember the ring theory fine, but not the group theory at all.
  10. Oct 23, 2007 #9
    I'll give a general answer. I may not be able to remember every fine detail about the subject, but I feel that I could read the textbook and not struggle to understand it. I think if I read a few lines here and there, it'll click again. However, unless I use it constantly, it won't be on the tip of my tongue. I find it hard to remember much about group theory, but hey partial differential equations i'm good to go! :)
  11. Oct 24, 2007 #10


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    I'm not one for remembering -- like cristo said, that's what textbooks are for.
  12. Oct 24, 2007 #11
    It's pretty often for me...I usually forget things shortly after the class is over. But then there's some things that just stick. I guess it probably has a lot to do with my interest in the subject and how much I use it.
  13. Oct 25, 2007 #12
    Is it fair to say that students would be skewed to greater frequency and professors would be skewed to less frequency required (perhaps never needing any rereading?). If so, would you then say that having such a good memory is a big requirement for being good enough to become a researcher in the first place?
  14. Oct 25, 2007 #13
    Ahahah - i don't think anyone can remember everything without reference - hell i need to look through my grocerry list several times at the store even after i wrote it down and debated what i needed to get for the whole week.

    No harm in refreshing your memory - doesn't make you any more special than you already are. If that was the case then Kevin Trudeau would be a nobel Laureate just because he remember phone numbers, birthdays and first names.
  15. Oct 25, 2007 #14


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    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    They'll remember things in their field of research and courses they teach and that's about it.

    They work on it daily. If someone worked on mathematics everyday, I'm sure they would remember it all too. Not necessarily solve anything, but they will remember it.
  16. Oct 28, 2007 #15
    How can anyone claim to not forget a math topic?
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