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- Thread starter ghostwind
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- #2

lisab

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Statistics (intro level) was the only math class I thought was not hard at all.

All the others I thought were hard. Not miserable, but hard enough that had I fallen behind, it would have been a disaster.

- #3

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Topology. That's what hit me hard. I really like topology (general and a little algebraic), but taking the course nearly derailed me despite a good teacher. Every time I come back to it I learn a little more, but it is still a huge struggle and I really don't feel comfortable with it.

- #4

Evo

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Geometry was my absolute favorite!

- #5

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BTW, I also loved geometry, but I felt and still feel it's increasingly becoming less important in the teaching methodology in the US system. It's more brief and being replaced by other things - more trig, stats, etc. And a really good foundation in geometry is SO important, is sort of sad.

- #6

jim hardy

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Curl i never mastered and the coursework thereafter was reduced for me to alphabet juggling by memory.

I took great solace in an essay by one G H Hardy, a British mathematician who wrote : "There are students who simply cannot grasp higher math. But they can make meaningful contributions at a practical level. "

Diff eq and analytic geometry i loved, but had to work extremely hard at them.

- #7

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There is no particular Math topic I like but recently, I have been into too much integral calculus and series so maybe I can make this my favourite.

- #8

collinsmark

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My first* go through the class of electromagnetic theory (for electrical engineering) we were introduced to the Laplacian operator.

*(that should tell you something right there)

In Cartesian coordinates, the Laplacian is pretty simple and friendly:

[tex] \nabla^2 f = \frac{\partial^2 f}{\partial x^2} + \frac{\partial^2 f}{\partial y^2} + \frac{\partial^2 f}{\partial z^2},[/tex]

which really isn't that bad. If you know

But in spherical coordinates, the Laplacian becomes

[tex] \nabla^2 f = \frac{1}{r^2} \frac{\partial}{\partial r} \left( r^2 \frac{\partial f}{\partial r} \right) + \frac{1}{r^2 \sin \theta} \frac{\partial}{\partial \theta} \left( \sin \theta \frac{\partial f}{\partial \theta} \right) + \frac{1}{r^2 \sin^2 \theta} \frac{\partial^2 f}{\partial^2 \phi}[/tex]

Rather than just memorize the spherical coordinate version, I figured that all I really had to do was just re-derive it on the fly, even during an exam, knowing that

[itex] x = r \cos \theta \sin \phi [/itex]

[itex] y = r \sin \theta \sin \phi [/itex]

[itex] z = r \cos \phi [/itex]

Boy, that was a big mistake. Big mistake. While going from Cartesian to spherical coordinates by substitution is possible, it takes about ten pages to math to do it.

- #9

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I honestly felt like it only got easier.

- #10

Borek

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It got hard when I went to school, I had no problems with math earlier.

- #11

PhysicoRaj

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But when I got to 11th and 12th, things changed radically. I simply loved combinatorics :!!)

I became an addict to calculus! I was mad at differentiation and a crazy integrals fanatic!

So as an undergrad I was a full fledged math fan. Let's see what I become of later..

- #12

CAF123

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My situation is similar to PhysicoRaj. When at primary school, Maths was the subject I least looked forward to every day. I remember struggling with the idea of a composite shape. At the beginning of high school I was also nervous in Maths. I think it wasn't until half way through high school that I started to appreciate it more and develop an interest.

- #13

AlephZero

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While going from Cartesian to spherical coordinates by substitution is possible, it takes about ten pages to math to do it.

Only if you do it the hard way (e.g. http://planetmath.org/derivationofthelaplacianfromrectangulartosphericalcoordinates).

If you first learn about orthogonal curvilinear coordinates, you can almost write the answer down without doing anything. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthogonal_coordinates

- #14

dlgoff

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I honestly felt like it only got easier.

Sometime during my differential equations course things clicked and math seemed to get easier. But that was then. Now things have unclicked.

- #15

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Sometime during my differential equations course things clicked and math seemed to get easier. But that was then. Now things have unclicked.

I didn't feel like there was anything to click. After trudging through those types of classes with the "here's the problem. Here's the way some old dead guy figured out how to solve it. Remember it. Use that" experience, it became something else entirely. Math became the study of making sense. I'd rather show some property about a topological space than solve a differential equation (as a DE student would) any day. The former is about an idea that makes sense. The latter is the manipulation of some abstract symbols according to rules that your teacher told you (from the perspective of a DE student) that requires that you know nothing but how to manipulate those symbols - that's not fun, and it's confusing. Of course, some DE students know the mechanisms behind what they are studying, but that's the minority IMHO.

- #16

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It became hard when i saw the JEE question paper.

- #17

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It got hard for me at manifold theory.

- #18

WannabeNewton

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Arithmetic was hardcore. I gave up on math after that.

- #19

dlgoff

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:rofl:Arithmetic was hardcore. I gave up on math after that.

So you know Arithmetic, right?

- #20

WannabeNewton

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:rofl:

So you know Arithmetic, right?

Given by my frequent inability to correctly add and subtract even single digit numbers, I would have to say no.

- #21

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It's here too! Spherical coordinates! Noooooooooooooooooo![itex] x = r \cos \theta \sin \phi [/itex]

[itex] y = r \sin \theta \sin \phi [/itex]

[itex] z = r \cos \phi [/itex]

- #22

ZombieFeynman

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