1. Self-Introduction

Hi folks, Godfrey here. 52, m, non-maths b/grd, grad. degree in French lit, formerly worked as French teacher, currently pensioned early with loads of time and a growing interest in remediating my innumeracy.

I have tried over the past few years, on and off, to teach myself up to pre-calc level.

Here I am again, struggling with trig identities and scaling the foothills of Mount Calculus, taking in the sharp, clean, sobering chilly airs blowing off that olympian peak, tripping frequently over little calculus pebbles that have blown down the trail, trying to memorized identities and take bearings and puzzling at things like:

why is it that when i multiply the side ratios for a 30-60-90 angle, namely 1:/3:2 (the / is for radical; could someone tell me the asci for getting that and save me some ambiguity?)
by any multiplicand up to 10 (that's all I've tried so far) EXCEPT for some reason i just can't fathom, 4, the pythagorean result obtains.

why does multiplying the ratio by 4 ruffle Pythagoras' august and well-groomed identity?

Anyway, if someone can help with that, I guess I will have launched myself officially at this (wonderfully looking) site.

Cheers,
Godfree

PS I am enrolled at an institution of learning for adults wishing to enter university and my firm intention is to enrol part-time to do pure maths next year, so, while i have a heap of work to do, I *am* keen, prepared to put in 4-6 hours per day, and the questions i ask here, while initially very basic to most of you, will quickly get less soporiphic and more apt to engage you keen pedagogues out there

2. Re: Self-Introduction

Hello Godfreysown.

A lot of people use LaTeX typesetting. For example, $\sqrt{3}$ is given by \sqrt{3} (LaTeX expressions must be wrapped in [TEX] tags -- go to "Go Advanced" and click on $\Sigma$. A full list of LaTeX symbols and commands can be found here: LaTeX:Symbols - AoPSWiki

As for the $1:\sqrt{3}:2$ scaled by 4 question, I don't get it. Check your multiplication.

Best,
richard1234

3. Re: Self-Introduction

Hey, Richard, thx for the help and the suggestions: yes, of course, I found my error and this will have the (desirable) effect of making stop and look one more time before next posting.
So, regarding LaTex, do I have dload it first in order to use it? (I'm running Ubuntu 12.0.4)
Godfree