1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I hate Linear Algebra

  1. Mar 11, 2009 #1
    Let me start off saying I hate linear algebra. It may just be the prof, but I feel like I have to memorize far too much in this class. It's like I need to memorize the entire textbook. I work my *** off studying and test time comes and I am welcomed by a proof that requires countless other identities that slipped my mind after memorizing identity after identity. At my school we have an Applied Math program that requires Linear Algebra 1 and 2 and a choice of Numerical Linear Algebra or LA 3. The rest are Calculus related and I love Calculus. Would Applied Math be a good idea for me or what would you guys recommend?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2009 #2
    You don't hate linear algebra, you hate the class you're in. There's a difference. Linear Algebra is a beautiful subject.
     
  4. Mar 11, 2009 #3
    You're probably right. I'm just upset. I've always loved Calculus though, no matter who taught it.
     
  5. Mar 12, 2009 #4
    Hello,

    Why you hate linear algebra ? i love linear algebra its my favorite subject.
     
  6. Mar 12, 2009 #5
    Huh. I hated calculus and loved linear algebra. Go figure.

    When you read through the book, do you find the stuff interesting at all?
     
  7. Mar 12, 2009 #6
    I hated my LA class also but the subject is very useful. My LA professor was a nazi that took pleasure in failing his students.
     
  8. Mar 12, 2009 #7
    Go figure... I wouldn't have guessed that Nazis liked linear algebra.
     
  9. Mar 12, 2009 #8
    The prof is a nazi. He'll give us practice tests that make us underestimate the test and guide us in the wrong direction. He's even said he's going to kill us with the final. The kind of proofs he asks on the tests make me feel like I need to know every property and identity. It's annoying.
     
  10. Mar 12, 2009 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Just FYI, in the beginning I hated linear algebra, but I learned to love it.
     
  11. Mar 12, 2009 #10
    Don't memorize the identities, understand how to derive them quickly. Memorization is rarely necessary. Then you'll never have to worry about misremembering them.
     
  12. Mar 12, 2009 #11
    I'll try that. Maybe my brain just works better with Calculus. I hated Vectors in high school.
     
  13. Mar 13, 2009 #12

    dx

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    What "identities" are you talking about? I don't remember having to memorize any identities in linear algebra.
     
  14. Mar 13, 2009 #13
    "What "identities" are you talking about? I don't remember having to memorize any identities in linear algebra. "

    What about how to make an identity matrix? It seems like life coule be pretty rough without that...
     
  15. Mar 13, 2009 #14
    Our Linear Algebra class was geared more towards engineers, so we did a lot of applied problems rather than abstract questions or proofs. We did have to do a few proofs though, and I hated them.

    The material itself is quite interesting to me when it's used to solve applied problems such as traffic or economic dependency scenarios. I used it quite a bit for the circuit analysis labs we did in Physics II as well.
     
  16. Mar 13, 2009 #15
    I have not studied the subject in depth yet, but linear algebra has always struck me as an obstacle to more interesting topics (analysis, topology, algebra...). I am not looking forward to it.
     
  17. Mar 13, 2009 #16
    Linear algebra is probably more important than calculus.
     
  18. Mar 13, 2009 #17

    Tom Mattson

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    "Obstacle"? Try prerequisite! Not so much for analysis, but your algebra professor is going to expect that you know some linear algebra. At least mine did: right away in the course he used "det" as an example of a homomorphism. And depending on how far your topology course gets into algebraic topology, you'll need some algebra there too.
     
  19. Mar 13, 2009 #18
    I agree with the above posters who said that linear algebra is very important. The reason is that calculus is only really feasible in one variable, but most applications have significantly more than that. When you deal with a lot of variables, often the only feasible approach is to approximate a function locally by affine linear functions. (That Jacobian matrix business...) One solves multivariable calculus problems by turning them into linear algebra problems! Fortunately, linear algebra problems are usually solvable if you just know enough linear algebra.

    I am taking a differential geometry class right now which is kind of a powered-up version of multivariable calculus, and it is amazing how often I use Eigenvectors and Eigenvalues which seemed completely useless back in linear algebra.
     
  20. Mar 13, 2009 #19
    Don't underestimate the importance of linear algebra in analysis. Try doing functional analysis without linear algebra, or even just the analysis version of multivariable calculus...
     
  21. Mar 13, 2009 #20
    I would love it if the class had more real world kinds of problems. I think the problem lies in the fact that I dig Applied Math a lot more than Pure Math and the prof is a very Pure Math centered guy. He teaches it in such an abstract way, but there is a whole chapter on applications so I know it's useful.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook