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I wan to be a mathematician

  1. Dec 15, 2009 #1
    i like calculus very very much, but i hate linear algebra, and probability, and matrices.
    i hate it, but i can accept it, but not as easy as i understand the calculus...
    so, anyone can tell me, am i qualified to be mathematician?

    or maybe mathematician that majoring in calculus.. is there any?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2009 #2
    Linear algebra and probability are mathematically beautiful, just like geometry, they relate to language and one can enjoy them as a poem.

    Calculus amounts to figuring out big and small, it's boring, there is no beauty in it.

    But do not worry, I am not a mathematician !
  4. Dec 15, 2009 #3
    T_T, i cant be mathematician then.

    hey, i like geometry toooo, it is more to calculus right.
  5. Dec 15, 2009 #4
    No (no one here can tell you, except perhaps yourself).

    Are you seriously taking the advice of one anonymous person on an Internet forum and basing your perception of yourself upon that? Unless I'm not detecting some kind of sarcasm, you really need to learn to do some personal introspection instead of relying on others to tell you what you can do (no matter whether they agree or disagree with you). And by the way you made this inference. humanino never said you weren't cut out for math just that linear algebra and probability are beautiful.

    AFAIK there is no such thing as calculus is really just a mix of a lot of foundational aspects of other branches; mainly from analysis.

    You do not yet have the experience to tell whether you like linear algebra, or whether calculus is really your favorite subject. You may find that algebra is more of your thing, or topology, or functional analysis. I would definitely not give up yet. Probability is mostly an applied field whose pure counterpart I guess is something like measure theory, and to be honest very little beyond pretty trivial matrix theory feature in advanced mathematics (sometimes we discuss structures that can be described by matrices, but we often don't as we don't need to).

    I assume you are/have just taken an introductory linear algebra course. Personally I didn't like that either. Introductory linear algebra is so far the only math course I didn't like. It felt like we were back in middle school doing arithmetic just with blocks of numbers. It felt like the focus was on very concrete structures and we very for some reason afraid to generalize even when it simplified the situation. I have however come to at least like it somewhat after learning more advanced mathematics and learning the more abstract parts of linear algebra. I suspect the reason standard introductory linear algebra courses have such a focus on matrices, finite subspace of R^n, algorithms, etc. is that they need to be digestible by people who haven't acquired the mathematical sophistication yet to appreciate the underlying math except through examples. Personally I feels this spoils the subject somewhat, and remembering how to form change of base matrices, construct inverse matrices, solve systems of complex linear equations, etc. is pretty pointless. After doing some abstract algebra and dabbling in some representation theory however I see that linear algebra can be beautiful, it just isn't as presented to freshmen.

    For me the lack of abstractness was what made the subject though, but I know that for other people what made it though was too much abstractness. In my opinion these people will have a harder time later on, but I have seen plenty of people struggle at the beginning only to come out near the top later on.
  6. Dec 15, 2009 #5
    "calculus" is for engineers & physicists. mathematicians do functional analysis, but I doubt that there's a way to do it without doing some linear algebra also. maybe if you saw how linear algebra (REAL linear algebra, not matrix theory) is used for functional analysis it wouldn't be so boring.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  7. Dec 15, 2009 #6
    Just a heads up: mathematicians do almost no calculus. I know because I was a math major in undergrad. Oh sure, you'll see an integral once in awhile and use it to prove something. But in practice you won't do any of the things you've done in calculus class. If you want to do a bit more calculus than what you'd find in math, major in physics. If you want to do a lot of calculus, engineering is the way to go.
  8. Dec 15, 2009 #7
    hehe, i dont mean it when i say that..

    yea, i was just taken the introductory :P
    yea your right, i do like on the proving parts.. hate it when doing normal matrices..

    hmm, i guess all comment here give me inspiration... thanks
  9. Dec 16, 2009 #8
    Introductory linear algebra is usually a really easy course. For some reason it's always got a high course number, but doesn't include very much material beyond what you'd learn in an accelerated high school class. I probably learned more formal (i.e. "real") linear algebra in quantum mechanics than I did in the linear algebra class that my math department offered. It's not representative of what you'd learn in most math classes.
  10. Dec 16, 2009 #9
    it seems like u should be a physicist then. but you will find that linear algebra is VERY important to calculus. escpecially when solving differential equations they are very intertwined. if you find linear algebra boring, look up the eigenvalue theorems. i find them very fascinating because it allows you to generalize functions of scalars to functions of such things as matrices. (its very incredibly wonderous when you prove that (cosA)^2+sin(A)^2=I) where A is any square matrix and I is the identity matrix.) just how the properties of functions of matrices still hold, even though as an example, the pythagorean theorem cannot be applied to (cosA)^2+sin(A)^2=I) where A and I are matrices.
  11. Dec 16, 2009 #10
    hey, i've just read the introduction of eigenvalue.. i think it becomes more interesting now , haha
  12. Dec 17, 2009 #11
    Calculus is pretty useful..so are Probabilities/Linear algebra. I don't see any beauty in them but I love to use them when required :smile:

    It does not make sense to compare calculus against probabilities etc. You use them when the need arises. You wouldn't use calculus where probabilities is required. So, it is not that one is interesting/better than the other.
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