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I hate Linear Algebra

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

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?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
2,903
13
You don't hate linear algebra, you hate the class you're in. There's a difference. Linear Algebra is a beautiful subject.
 
  • #3
You don't hate linear algebra, you hate the class you're in. There's a difference. Linear Algebra is a beautiful subject.
You're probably right. I'm just upset. I've always loved Calculus though, no matter who taught it.
 
  • #4
4
0
Hello,

Why you hate linear algebra ? i love linear algebra its my favorite subject.
 
  • #5
287
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Huh. I hated calculus and loved linear algebra. Go figure.

When you read through the book, do you find the stuff interesting at all?
 
  • #6
1,553
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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.
 
  • #7
287
0
Go figure... I wouldn't have guessed that Nazis liked linear algebra.
 
  • #8
Hello,

Why you hate linear algebra ? i love linear algebra its my favorite subject.
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.
 
  • #9
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,093
174
Just FYI, in the beginning I hated linear algebra, but I learned to love it.
 
  • #10
289
2
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.
 
  • #11
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.
I'll try that. Maybe my brain just works better with Calculus. I hated Vectors in high school.
 
  • #12
dx
Homework Helper
Gold Member
2,003
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What "identities" are you talking about? I don't remember having to memorize any identities in linear algebra.
 
  • #13
287
0
"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...
 
  • #14
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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.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #16
117
2
Linear algebra is probably more important than calculus.
 
  • #17
Tom Mattson
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linear algebra has always struck me as an obstacle to more interesting topics (analysis, topology, algebra...).
"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.
 
  • #18
211
0
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.
 
  • #19
211
0
"Obstacle"? Try prerequisite! Not so much for analysis, but your algebra professor is going to expect that you know some linear algebra.
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...
 
  • #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.
 
  • #21
117
2
I can't think of any other major branch than logic that does not utilize linear algebra.
 
  • #22
117
2
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.
Even if you are a applied math person, if you don't bother to deal with "abstraction" at linear algebra level, it won't be helpful. That sort of abstraction is crucial for any sort of math, even very applied ones.
 
  • #23
"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.
Why do you think I called it an obstacle:smile:. It's a prerequisite for almost every advanced math class at my school. I know enough linear algebra to get by in most cases, though.
 
  • #24
Even if you are a applied math person, if you don't bother to deal with "abstraction" at linear algebra level, it won't be helpful. That sort of abstraction is crucial for any sort of math, even very applied ones.
I can deal with it, but it doesn't mean I have to enjoy the prof's teaching methods.
 
  • #25
66
0
What textbook are you using? The first linear algebra class I took used a textbook that to this day is the worst textbook I've ever encountered.
Having a good textbook makes loving the subject much easier.
 

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