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How to think through math.

  1. Feb 10, 2012 #1
    I'm a junior math major in a small liberal arts college. I have taken a lot of math classes and will apply to graduate school this year.

    Recently I started to talk a lot with another senior math major. He might not have been taking such an intensive schedule as I do, but he seems to know a lot of advanced math. He also has a good memory of what he learned. If you ask him a analysis problem, he can answer it. But if you ask me, I would probably blank out because I don't think I remember much analysis. I just seem to forget so fast after I take a class. I'm packed with a lot of things and I spend most of time doing homework. So I feel too tired to pursue 'extra' math. Although I have a perfect major GPA, I always knew I had problems like these. But talking to him made me panic.

    Maybe someone could tell me a non-overwhelming way for me to actually pick up interesting math by myself so I could be one of those cool kids who can quickly bring up a conversation about some awesome theorem.:tongue2: I admire those who have the energy to go off and read math by themselves. I just feel drained by homework(I spend like 70 hours on classroom math every week).
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2012 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    First don't be intimidated by your friend. It's not a competition but it is a kind poker game where you want show you're smart without showing it. For math books check out math 1001 by Prof Elwes covers the breadth of math in bite size chunks. You might find your future direction of interest there as he outlines a lot of the current problems in the field.

    For parties, there's a book mathematical magic:


    So you do cool magic tricks with math backgrounds and if you practice enough you can use it in a future teaching job or become a professional magican for more pay.

    Lastly, Robert Lang has a book on Origami and math that is pretty cool.so you could show off by doing origami figures for the ladies and kids present.

    Just thinking
  4. Feb 11, 2012 #3
    Why do you want to be a wind bag?

    Read "The Strangest Man" by Graham Farmelo. Dirac "got by" by never saying anything. He had some very extrovert, irritating friends who were always rabbiting on (Oppenheimer, Kapitza, Gamow...) but he impressed them by his guru like silence...

    He didn't do magic tricks (apart from that equation... that impressed them...)
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