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Improving at mathematics and physics?

  1. Jul 28, 2007 #1
    Hello, my name is Christopher.

    At this moment, i've been deleting 10 opening lines to start out with, so I am just going to "go with the flow" of what i'm writing.

    I have spent most of my life playing video games and aiming to become professional at them... Well that's not entirely true, but I suppose i'm in the mood for writing a self-biographi about my career choises.

    Let's see... I was about 6-7 when I figured out I wanted to develop video games for companies like Blizzard. I spent all day, every day, playing video games infront of the computer. Now one day, I actually got up from my chair and went to the library to find a book about programming and I found a book about C++. I was about 10 at the time.

    I had a hard time learning programming (took me about 2 years) because my reading is horrible. I get so easily distracted (and this is a part of my question, so bear with me) with mathematics, reading and thinking in general... Anyway, I learned C++, C, ASM, Java, HTML, PHP, ASP.NET, Visual Basics, Perl, Python, Javascript and probably some other things I've forgotten. So after learning all this, I figured i'd be able to make games. But when I got to about 12 I found out game development wasn't for me... No, I wanted to make eCommerence.

    I kept learning all about computers and one day I met this guy on a Counter-Strike Server. He had a dutch friend who was just as much into computers as I was. He introduced us and we talked for months... We were the best friends, and we even figured we'd meet eachother in real life.

    My friend showed me a few tricks how to circumvent security on a Windows system. 2 years went by and at this point I was 14. I was well respected in the hacking community, and people really sought me for answers to many things. I even taught up a few people to become gurus at this, but all in all they became people that steal your creditcard, and wash you clean from money. I won't apologize for this, because in the end, they get caught and they are the ones that will be creating revolutionary computer security.

    Anyway, I figured at this point i'd be a security analytic. I really didn't like the idea, because I hated/hate the US. government for having such superficial power. You see... I really love conspiracy theories and stuff like that. So my trust in any government is only a thought on a monday morning highway.

    I got older and finished my exams in high school, and finally went to college. Here I took the IT-guideline. However this is where it all really began for me...

    I started having physics classes and unlike in high school... THESE HAD EQUATIONS. I mean seriously, I tried solving an equation (extremely easy one) once all by myself (remember, I am a very stupid person) and I felt the adrenaline pumping through my body. I felt electrified and I wanted to keep doing it. I've recently gotten to my mid-year (2.G, and you stop after 3.G) and I fail every test we have. I am stupid like hell I admit... and I have been scanning google for a solution to this.

    My *ultimate* dream is to work within the fields of quantum mechanics. But if I can't work within that field, my dream will continuously be to learn everything about it. And this is a problem for me.

    I get easily distracted as I mentioned, but if we just look past this.
    I want to get smart at mathematics and physics. But my biggest problem is math... Yesterday my boss at work (I work at a small supermarket) asked me to put 1.25*16 + 20.0 together, and I just blanked out.

    I really hope someone can help me with this problem... If I didn't simplify it enough, just tell me and I will answer any question you have. Again, my question is how do I improve my ridiculous logics and mathematical thinking?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2007 #2
    1.25*16+ 20.0= 40. that's all the advice i can give you
  4. Jul 28, 2007 #3
    Hmm... I think I know what you mean :/

  5. Jul 28, 2007 #4
    honestly how old are you?
  6. Jul 28, 2007 #5
    there is no easy way... u just have to practice.

    It seems like you are inconsistent. You need to learn one thing, and stick with it until completion. I bet you start a lot of projects but never finish them. For example, game programming. There was no need to C++, C, ASM, Java, HTML, PHP, ASP.NET, Visual Basics, etc... for coding a game. One language (probably not HTML, PHP, or ASP.NET) would have been more than adequate.

    Who cares if you can't do 1.25 * whatever it was in your head. That doesn't mean you don't know math. If you can do that on paper, than you are good. Math is going to be a lot like those programming languages. You are going to find all different types. Follow a typical route, DO NOT diverge from it. Focus on that one subject until you really understand it, and then move to the next. For me personally, physics started to actually make sense once I knew a lot more math.
  7. Jul 28, 2007 #6
    My ultimate dream was unifying quantum mechanics with gravity until I started to learn more maths and realised there is a lot of worthwhile and interesting pursuits in maths itsself. So your goals may change as you learn more. Other areas of physics are also extremely intersting.
  8. Jul 28, 2007 #7
    Ah, youth!
  9. Jul 28, 2007 #8
    what a silly dream to have in youth, i dreamed of being superman
  10. Jul 28, 2007 #9
    I am 16, turning 17 in 1 month.

    FrogPad, would it be possible for me to go and just pick an eBook on algebra (i've got one open already, from this website's tutorial category) and just read and understand it? Or is that a wrong approach?
  11. Jul 28, 2007 #10
    Ask in a general manner to the crowd. Don't take only my advice. I wouldn't take only my advice... hmmm, (I guess you should take this advice though).

    Anyways. Yeah, I don't know any good algebra books. It's been awhile. I personally did NOT really learn algebra by itself. If you know a little bit of algebra, maybe jump into a pre-calc book. That helped me a hell of a lot more.
  12. Jul 28, 2007 #11
    dude i thought you were like 20 or something. you're not dumb. you're only a little behind.


    how are you in college? did you drop out of high school and get a ged? you have to have known algebra to pass the ged? and algebra is a required prerequisite, along with trig, for college physics?

    if you're really having trouble go find a tutor, i bet your school has some free ones
  13. Jul 28, 2007 #12
    I did fine in high school. I just seem to have gotten behind as you said. What happened was I met alot of people that shared my interest (eSports, or professional gaming) and that became my downfall. It's not that I am really in trouble, or anything. I get very high scores and stuff (in humane classes like English, Danish and Social Edu.), but I have never gotten an A+ and that's why I am here today. I want to get my first A+ ever, and I don't want it to be in English (which I am good at, if I would say so myself) but in math.

    I used to talk to people that had astral projected and gone to far planets in our universe to meet with aliens. And I read one girls post once, how she seems to have a theory to why we are here... And she said we are here to learn. And I have studied buddhism and hinduism to SMALL amounts, and I don't really remember how I got this assumption, but one day I thought; If I learn mathematics and physics I will be enlightened the day I die. So that's really why I want to progress faster, but my mind limits me to this.
  14. Jul 28, 2007 #13
    A pre-calc book is a book with exercises that have solutions to them, correct?

    I mean, a book where you learn all the basic stuff like addition, subtraction, division, multiplication etc?
  15. Jul 28, 2007 #14
    Are you saying you can't do these things? So if I say, "What's 969*46?", you can't do that? I sure hope you can... and I hope I am misinterpreting you. Please describe what math you have learned and mastered so far, so that we can provide better advice.
  16. Jul 28, 2007 #15
    No. Pre-calc is pre-calculus.

    If you have an understanding of algebra then I would do this.

    Get a calculus book (I used Stewart -- I also hated it). Others might recommend Courant or or Apostol (my preference).

    Get a algebra book as a reference (I don't have any recommendations).

    Go through EVERY exercise in the calculus book. If you get stuck ask questions on here. Use any reference you want to help you. Stay away from algebra systems like Mathematica, Maple, or a TI-89 (unless you are checking your answer).

    If you can do this, then you will learn calculus.

    By the way a tutor is a great idea.

    Try and finish something though. Stop doing bits and pieces of ****. Make it easy on yourself and set small goals like, make it a goal to finish one small section. Then your next goal can be one other section. Don't make a goal like, finishing an entire book -- be realistic.
  17. Jul 28, 2007 #16


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    Too late, I'm afraid-- I did that last week.
  18. Jul 28, 2007 #17


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    Don't even plan on publishing, Cristo. I did it 2 weeks ago! While everyone else was wasting their time with string theory, I developed my theory, Rope Theory.
    Ropes are superior to strings as the building blocks of the universe. They are bigger and can hold up a tire swing, which, small, weak strings can't do. The rest of the theory should be apparent from this fact...:tongue2:
  19. Jul 28, 2007 #18


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    Dammit, I knew I did something wrong. I was going for something smaller like cotton thread theory, but I shouldve known ropes are far superior. :grumpy:

    [Oops.. this thread isn't in GD, so I might get in trouble for derailing it!!]
  20. Jul 28, 2007 #19


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    Yeah we should probably get back on topic, sorry guys!:redface:
  21. Jul 29, 2007 #20
    Thats right, I was 14 at the time.
  22. Jul 29, 2007 #21
    I can do those things, I just thought a pre-calc book was short for precalculated exercises. Don't ask. :/

    And no, I can't do 969*46 in my head, but if I had a paper I could do it.

    Reason why i'm abit confusing to listen to is because i'm not exactly sure what the names for the things i've learned is in English. But i'll try...

    I've learned the basics (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).
    I've learned to solve equation things (I think this is algebra?? :/).
    I've learned about functions, which I haven't really understood yet :/
    I've learned the pensum about 2nd degree equations.
    I've learned to use sinus, cosinus and tangent.

    uhm.. Please try and understand this is very difficult for me to explain since I really don't know how the things i've learned are explained in English.
  23. Jul 29, 2007 #22
    hmmm... but you know a billion programming languages?

    Maybe you don't understand the mathematical definition of a function. However, you should know what a function is.

    You have a long road ahead of you, but you can do it. If you can get your way through one of those calc books you will be doing very well.
  24. Jul 29, 2007 #23
    You know I could do mutliplications like 343*434 in just seconds when I was 10-11 but that doesn't make me a genius. I started calculus first at the age of 17 and to this day I have trouble doing very simple integrals and differentiations. Reason? I never 'attacked' calculus the way I did simple arithmetics. I felt terrified the first time I saw integrals.

    So I don't think you should feel down. Just practice and have a positive frame of mind. There is a quotation which says something like: If you think you can or if you think you can't, chances are that you are right.

    Go for it. You are still very young!
  25. Jul 29, 2007 #24
    Thanks PrinceOfDarkness :)

    FrodPad: When I was writing code I never saw it as a mathematical product, but as an essay. It worked well enough for me... If I needed to make a program I would picture it's procedures in my mind and write it as if it was an essay for school.

    And a function is when you give a place in the program an argument (input) and it works it around in the area coded for that particular function and it returns it to the main area of code which is operating at the system level. As far as I remember anyway :/. But yeah it comes from the f(x) in mathematics... I just didn't know that at the time.

    EDIT: When I said I didn't understand functions well enough yet, I mean how to solve f = -1 ... And do that monopol stuff. You know the function where you use the 2nd degree equation things for it? :/ Hard for me to explain.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2007
  26. Jul 29, 2007 #25
    There is no set personality to become a mathematician.
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