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Study & Motivation

  1. Jul 5, 2004 #1
    How much study (maths) do you guys do on average?

    What motivates you?

    Your thoughts. :yuck:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2004 #2
    In grad school I averaged about fifty hours per week of solid studying during the tougher semesters (classical electrodynamics as one of the courses). As an undergrad... probably about 30 hours per week. (But it's been a long time.)
  4. Jul 6, 2004 #3
    that scares me
  5. Jul 6, 2004 #4
    I'm still in high school, so i only do four hours a semester (on average - the four hours come from retarded projects that teachers feel must be assigned).
  6. Jul 6, 2004 #5
    Do most math people have attitudes towards "schooling" like that? It seems like math has more than its share of people who just want to be left alone to do their own thing. Off the top of my head I can think of John Nash, Einstein, Russell, Galois, Hermite, Hardy, Hilbert, etc who were all like that. Earlier this year when the students elected our paltry TWO reps to the university senate (which has ~100 people) the turnout is usually less than 10% & pretty much everybody I talk to thinks we'd have a much better election turnout if we elected the president, the whole senate, and faculty (& paid the faculty directly). After all, why shouldn't the majority of the people in the U community determine how things should be done? I think the math people I know are much more receptive to that sort of stuff than students in other departments would be, especially a department like business (for obvious reasons there).
  7. Jul 8, 2004 #6
    I am 'good' boy and does all the work my teacher gave me. ;)
  8. Jul 10, 2004 #7


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    I think this quality in one's personality aids one's potentials in math greatly. Math is best learnt alone, most of the times anyway.

    My schooling years was filled with constant skipping of classes and getting told i would fail math because i am not a serious student.
  9. Jul 10, 2004 #8
    RE: " Earlier this year when the students elected our paltry TWO reps to the university senate (which has ~100 people) the turnout is usually less than 10% & pretty much everybody I talk to thinks we'd have a much better election turnout if we elected the president, the whole senate, and faculty (& paid the faculty directly). After all, why shouldn't the majority of the people in the U community determine how things should be done?"

    At every campus I attended or taught, student government was a disaster. If they can't even run their own show, what business do they have in trying to run a university?

    Don't get me wrong, universities are badly run organizations anyway. But things can always get worse.

    (Students should not govern because they are not bound by the faculty code. So if students want to make decisions that purely benefit themselves, there is little recourse.)
  10. Jul 10, 2004 #9
    In Constance Reid's definitive biography of David Hilbert she writes that the students hired/fired the faculty directly, and the faculty wa spaid directly by the students. At the end of lectures the profs would pass the hat & the students would give them tips if thye did a good job. When I tell people that they think it would be cool if we could do that instead of having all decisions made for us, as if we're not responsible to do it ourselves.
  11. Jul 10, 2004 #10
    I am in my freshman year and I am averaging 30 hous per week.
  12. Jul 10, 2004 #11


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    Chicks man... it's the chicks. :wink:
  13. Jul 11, 2004 #12
    i spose we all turn out ok in the end heh.
  14. Jul 11, 2004 #13

    Dr Transport

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    my motivation was not to pass courses, but in graduate school to learn enough to pass the comprehensive examination to get the next degree, i.e. masters or PhD. The further I got in my education, the more I saw the interactin between the subjects I had taken and wanted to see how other thing fit into the grand scheme.
  15. Jul 12, 2004 #14


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    I find myself hungry enough to strive toward PHDhood, but I know from the experiences of many around me that it may be noble to strive for what interests you, even at the expense of many years and Friday nights, but life always has a way of coming back and smacking you in the face, and reality sets in. Job offers and other distractions pop up and can potentially derail you. So i'm just wondering out loud I guess, (sorry I tend to do that alot) is it really worth it? This of course is just empty pessimism, i'm still going to try, but it's a question worth asking myself.
  16. Jul 12, 2004 #15
    Throughout my sophomore year (last year), I averaged a C in math. I never studied the required material, never turned in home work... etc. I did, however, teach myself calculus. Anyway, the only time I remember studying was two days before my GCSEs. I got As in both math and additional math.

    This year, I averaged an A because I already knew the material, and I spent some time learning about complex numbers, differential equations and numerical solutions to them (all not required). The only time I honestly studied the material was a couple of weeks before my A-levels, and I'm glad I did: there was a lot of stuff I didn't know. We'll see what I did on results day (aug 16th :uhh:).

    A few weeks ago I ordered several math books. I intend to study a lot of stuff during the summer (already started polar coordinates! :biggrin:), even though we don't take any math in our senior year because we cover all the required material as juniors.

    I teach myself stuff (physics+mechanics+math) because I have the desire to know, that's my main source motivation. I just have a weird love of knowledge. Sometimes I lose all motivation, and just feel generally bored. That's when I go read a couple of biographies of mathematicians. It really gets me up and going again.

    If you want to teach yourself stuff, I highly recommend the Heinemann series for Edexcel GCE A-level Mathematics. They have 6 pure math books (P1-P6), 6 mechanics (M1-M6), 6 statistics (S1-S6) and 2 decision math (D1-D2). They're very well-written, and have a lot of good excercises. They also have final answers to all the excercises, but not complete solutions. This is great since sometimes you might be tempted to look at the solution instead of trying to figure one out. And every time you do get one of the answers right, you'd feel smarter. That's pretty motivating if you ask me. :approve:
  17. Jul 12, 2004 #16

    Dr Transport

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    Aspiring to higher eduacation is noble indeed, I got my PhD for two reasons, it helped me land a decent position in industry making a fairly decent living and for myself. If you can afford it, by all means, get the advanced degree. I never have regretted it. I did alot of years in school making next to nothing, those years are lost forever in the total years of earning power, I figure I am at least half a million behind my peers who didn't got to grad school, but I am moving up salary wise quicker than they are, so in the next couple of years, I'll be making more. Now if I went into academics, I would not ever expect to make much more than I make now and my salary curve would level off about now. My advisor is a research faculty member, he only makes about 20% more than I and he has 30 years experience to my 8. I suspect that our salary curves will cross in the next 5 years and by the time he retires, I'll be making more and I will have another 20 years of earning power left in me.
  18. Jul 13, 2004 #17


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    Thanks for the encouragement Transport. Money, of course, will always be a large factor in determining what course my future life will take (just being realistic.) And a PHD is truly an investment in my future; even if it will take more effort than most people will ever have to face academically. It is people like you I look up to whenever I begin to doubt myself. Thanks for the reply.
  19. Jul 13, 2004 #18
    Rich mathematician is somewhat of an oxymoron isn't it?. How man industry positions are around for postdocs?
  20. Jul 15, 2004 #19
    It is the 19th I believe :) Waiting for my Phyiscs A2/Mathematics A2/Further Mathematics A2/Philosophy A2/STEP results! Roll on!
  21. Jul 15, 2004 #20
    They often have silly mistakes though and sometimes I find the material to be quite ambiguous.

    If you are looking for a very thorough guide for 'A' level Pure Mathematics I would recommend:

    Mathematical Techniques: An Introduction for the Engineering, Physical, and Mathematical Sciences
    D.W. Jordan, Peter Smith
    Book Information.
    Full Solutions.
    Sample Chapter.

    It has a lot of additional chapters which are quite beyond ‘A’ level. Fun to learn never the less. It's nice to solve a differential equation using a Laplace transform... A real way to put your finger up at the examiner :) Id be interested in hearing about recommendations for other mathematics book for undergraduate physicists.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2004
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