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Math Help - Mathematics...a starting point?

  1. #1
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    Mathematics...a starting point?

    This is almost surely the wrong forum for this, and for this I apologize in advance.

    I have a simple problem, not a mathematical one but one which relates to mathematics. I used to love Algebra I when I was a kid, I'd do the problems for fun. But I found Algebra II, Geometry, and Trigonometry to be impossible for me. I've since taken various classes in them, but the material never stuck. So I have been avoiding mathematics like the plague for a long time. But recently I have been remembering the me that used to sit in programming classes on Friday nights at the local college, and I want to try and learn a great deal of mathematics simply because it fascinates me. However, I seem unable to learn the concepts...none of the textbooks or resources I have come across ever explain "why" anything is the way it is, and I, being a philosopher, seem unable to understand or at least to retain the concepts without knowing why something is being done.

    I suppose it could be my mind simply won't work for learning mathematics, or it could be related to my Huntington's...but I am hoping that is not the case.

    If anyone has any resources they could possibly share or any tips, or tricks, I would be most appreciative.

    Sorry for the long backstory...but thank you in advance =)

    Anyway,

    cheers!
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  2. #2
    is up to his old tricks again! Jhevon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stravinsky View Post
    This is almost surely the wrong forum for this, and for this I apologize in advance.

    I have a simple problem, not a mathematical one but one which relates to mathematics. I used to love Algebra I when I was a kid, I'd do the problems for fun. But I found Algebra II, Geometry, and Trigonometry to be impossible for me. I've since taken various classes in them, but the material never stuck. So I have been avoiding mathematics like the plague for a long time. But recently I have been remembering the me that used to sit in programming classes on Friday nights at the local college, and I want to try and learn a great deal of mathematics simply because it fascinates me. However, I seem unable to learn the concepts...none of the textbooks or resources I have come across ever explain "why" anything is the way it is, and I, being a philosopher, seem unable to understand or at least to retain the concepts without knowing why something is being done.

    I suppose it could be my mind simply won't work for learning mathematics, or it could be related to my Huntington's...but I am hoping that is not the case.

    If anyone has any resources they could possibly share or any tips, or tricks, I would be most appreciative.

    Sorry for the long backstory...but thank you in advance =)

    Anyway,

    cheers!
    oh! where do i begin?! see here. post #6 might be of particular interest. you might want to read the whole thread. and there are tons of other resources on the internet that will give you what you are looking for. get the basics down first. brush up on your algebra, and try to get your math legs back, and then you can go on to things like the books here. the last 2 texts there are good for building a foundation, but you have to be ok at math to begin with, i think. not a genius, but just ok. other than that, you can talk to Plato. he should know tons of resources that will cater to your needs
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  3. #3
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    Hello again,

    I kind of got very busy of a sudden and had to leave my math goals aside. I am ordering the Algebra and Geometry, and perhaps the Number Theory books in your link as well as getting the book by Reuben Hersh.

    My new goal is to learn mathematics up to the level of quantum mechanics.

    I was looking at Principles of Quantum Mechanics by R. Shankar...but what I really need is some recommendations on how to complete the bridge to there.

    I am guessing Trigonometry, Calculus, perhaps Physics? If anyone could recommend some higher level text books for those subjects I would be equally grateful =)

    Thank you,

    - Micah
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  4. #4
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    Hey mate,

    I understand completely where your coming from, I have always been fascinated with mathematics, however as I came to the end of my undergraduate in mathematics I started losing my fascination with the applications and use of mathematics without knowing the validity of its existence. At the time I should have probably focussed my time on my actual studies! however I was pointed in the direction of Euclidean Analysis - one of the governing fundamentals of Linear Algebra and Calculus - and since then I have been fascinated and cant get enough of it!
    For example, can you prove that real numbers exists? why does 1 + 1 = 2? what is 0, infinity? etc etc
    Its amazing how many principles society takes for granted and the amount of work that went into its existence!

    If you are like me, in that to use anything you have to be 100% certain that its valid I recommend Real and Complex Analysis as a must read, but let me forewarn you - the more you delve into Analysis the more you learn how little you actually know,

    Rest assured its a fascinating journey I recommend all mathematicians to undertake,

    Good Luck,

    David

    ps - Zakon offers a free Euclidean Analysis text (as well as preliminary texts to get you started)
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  5. #5
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    Thank you for the recommendation.

    As a self-pronounced skeptic/philosopher, I already assume that I know either nothing or very very little about the world.

    It is amazing how much is taken for granted today. I usually walk through the world and see nothing but vibrating particles forming oddly distinctive structures that I appear to be perceiving. So everything amazes me usually.

    I am always happy to have more resources for proofs and such.


    P.S. Jhevon, I guess I never said thank you before. I am indeed grateful for the post, sorry about that =)
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