- #1

Math Is Hard

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What makes it such a fancy-pants branch of mathematics that it deserves it's own article?

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- #1

Math Is Hard

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What makes it such a fancy-pants branch of mathematics that it deserves it's own article?

- #2

quantumdude

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I think the answer is that there are several "calculi". A calculus is, as the name implies, a method for calculating

1. Differential calculus (for calculating slopes of curves)

2. Integral calculus (for calculating areas under curves)

3. Propositional calculus (for 'calculating' conclusions from premises in symbolic logic)

4. Wick calculus (for calculating normal ordered products in quantum field theory)

There are others, but I think you get the idea. By far, the most famous of these is the material contained in #1 and #2. Given the preeminence of those particular calculi, they are typically called "The Calculus" (big "C"), or simply "Calculus".

- #3

Math Is Hard

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- #4

rdt2

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Interestingly, the 'al' part of al-gebra is Arabic for 'the' so 'the algebra' would be doubling up on the 'the'.

- #5

Math Is Hard

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From the way you have described it, it seems almost as if Calculus has an imaginary "method" after it.

For instance, if you said I am studying "the Calculus method" or "the

Calculus methods", it works better than saying I am studying "Calculus method".

But I still think the "The" lends it just a tiny bit of loftiness. I wonder if David Berlinski's book would have sold just as well if it were called

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond to my question. I appreciate your thoughtful answer.

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mathwonk

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AKG

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- #8

Muzza

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W(hy)tf is mathwonk dragging up these old threads...?

But anyway... http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=algebra&x=0&y=0 [Broken]

I'm more inclined to trust Merriam-Webster than Wikipedia :P

But anyway... http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=algebra&x=0&y=0 [Broken]

Main Entry: al·ge·bra

...

Etymology: Medieval Latin, from Arabic al-jabr, literally,thereduction

I'm more inclined to trust Merriam-Webster than Wikipedia :P

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- #9

AKG

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Muzza, I'll agree to that. Of course, I can't be certain since I don't know any Arabic.

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chroot

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- #11

quantumdude

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My answer was just a reasoned guess, but it sounded good to me. :P

- #12

I've never heard of "The Calculus" before. That sounds a bit pretentious.

- #13

mathwonk

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I just found out about this cool site and went through everything the first day on the job.

This is a rather fun site and presumably topics here will attract new interest from time to time.

best,

mathwonk (roy).

- #14

Math Is Hard

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Hey, Mathwonk - welcome to PF, by the way!

- #15

Math Is Hard

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Jin314159 said:I've never heard of "The Calculus" before. That sounds a bit pretentious.

We could call it Al Calculus. Makes it sound more sinister. And its members definitely have Weapons of Math Instruction.

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- #17

Math Is Hard

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quartodeciman said:So you might say the phrase meant "the calculus formerly called infinitesimal".

Reminds me of "The Artist formally known as Prince".

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quartodeciman

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mathwonk

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heehee! wonderful.

cosa nostra lives again.

cosa nostra lives again.

- #20

mathwonk

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this whole thread seems to reveal some innocence of the features of other languages by many, not all, of us. it seems clear that al does mean the in arabic, and in french also nouns such as algebra are usually preceded by an article like le or l' or la. i believe Newton also wrote in latin?

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- #21

matt grime

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tautological_place_names

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