View Full Version : Math levels

Normandy6644

2004-Sep-29, 01:46 AM

I'm just curious as to how much math people have had already, or are planning to have. Not sure why, but the question popped my mind. I know we have a wide range of posters here, so I thought it could be interesting.

I might be way off here, given that most of my math topics fall pretty flat. :D

If I left something off, say so.

Edit: I had more options, but it wouldn't let me do them all...

Gullible Jones

2004-Sep-29, 01:52 AM

Only high school geometry and Algebra 2... I wish I could get onto calculus, this stuff is way too easy. :evil: Unfortunately, my school has some stupid policy that does not allow sophomores to take AP classes...

I've been pushed beyond differential equations, but not far. When I started university, I loved math. Right now, I'm just really sick and tired of it...

Normandy6644

2004-Sep-29, 02:04 AM

I've been pushed beyond differential equations, but not far. When I started university, I loved math. Right now, I'm just really sick and tired of it...

I think a lot of it depends on the professor and the way it's taught. I'm in a mathematical physics class now that basically covers most everything you need to know for undergraduate physics/engineering/etc. It's a great class, and the teacher wrote the book, which is helpful at times because the lectures and the chapters - while very similar - compliment each other in a way such that one helps to explain the other.

Yeah, well, it was all good up until last year, when I had my Mathematical Methods for Physicists class. The professor was terrible, and he just completely turned me off. I don't even understand how I passed that course. Whatever the reason, I give the instructor no credit.

MrObvious

2004-Sep-29, 02:22 AM

Engineering maths, but a looong time ago and I've had little use for most of it since. If I had to quess at my level now it would be below college level :oops:

Might need to brush up on it so I can follow some of the more lively discussions on this board. So much to learn so little time.....

Tranquility

2004-Sep-29, 02:23 AM

I'm doing differential equations right now. I don't mind the math courses I've taken so far at college. I actually enjoyed them, but the thought of doing 4 more is NOT fun. After I finish DE, I still have linear algebra, discrete maths, calculus III, and stochastic processes.

Normandy6644

2004-Sep-29, 02:27 AM

Yeah, well, it was all good up until last year, when I had my Mathematical Methods for Physicists class. The professor was terrible, and he just completely turned me off. I don't even understand how I passed that course. Whatever the reason, I give the instructor no credit.

That's actually the class I'm in now, though I think what happened was the department wasn't happy with the way it was taught, so my current professor took over a number of years back. Which is why we use his book instead of Arfken of Butkov or something.

ToSeek

2004-Sep-29, 02:37 AM

I've had three semesters of calculus, plus linear algebra, discrete mathematics, non-Euclidean geometry, and the mathematics of relativity. But somehow I've never gotten to differential equations, though I'd like to take a course in that and also abstract algebra someday.

chiaroscuro25

2004-Sep-29, 03:07 AM

One of my undergraduate majors was "mathematical sciences", which was slanted towards applications in the physical sciences. (They also offered "pure math" and "actuarial math" majors.)

Andromeda321

2004-Sep-29, 03:55 AM

Right now I'm in Calc I which suits me fine as it's pretty easy. Ends up while I was being bored as heck in the back of Algebra II I was actually working out what derivatives were and such. Just kept looking at the graphs of sine and cosine... then there's that whole fiasco in second grade I won't get into. So I probably do know some higher maths just not that they're higher maths. :wink:

Mars

2004-Sep-29, 04:14 AM

I'm in DE now, I already pushed through Calc III. Next stop Physics I & II then onto Chemical Engineering!

Yeah, well, it was all good up until last year, when I had my Mathematical Methods for Physicists class. The professor was terrible, and he just completely turned me off. I don't even understand how I passed that course. Whatever the reason, I give the instructor no credit.

That's actually the class I'm in now, though I think what happened was the department wasn't happy with the way it was taught, so my current professor took over a number of years back. Which is why we use his book instead of Arfken of Butkov or something.

I'm told Arfken/Weber and Butkov are good reference books. They were completely and totally useless to learn from, though...

Brady Yoon

2004-Sep-29, 06:43 AM

Right now, I just started on Geometry, and it looks like it's pretty easy. I'm probably going to go into advanced calculus. Btw, what's differential equations?

Tranquility

2004-Sep-29, 12:16 PM

A DE is an equation which has the derivative of one or more dependent variables with respect to one or more independent variables. There different types of DE's, and they're classified by order (which is the order of the highest derivative in the equation), or by classification (like an ordinary DE, or a partial DE), or whether they're linear or not.

It won't make much sense until you've taken calculus. I'm really enjoying the class though.

jfribrg

2004-Sep-29, 01:09 PM

I took the typical 3 course calculus sequence in college, along with differential equations, numerical analysis and mathematical statistics. Independently, I've been teaching myself number theory and abstract algebra. If ever one of the local colleges offers either of these, I am going to take it.

ToSeek

2004-Sep-29, 01:18 PM

Right now I'm in Calc I which suits me fine as it's pretty easy. Ends up while I was being bored as heck in the back of Algebra II I was actually working out what derivatives were and such. Just kept looking at the graphs of sine and cosine... then there's that whole fiasco in second grade I won't get into. So I probably do know some higher maths just not that they're higher maths. :wink:

Calculus is fun until the third semester, when it ceases to be elegant.

Bawheid

2004-Sep-29, 01:27 PM

Whatever I once had is long gone. Very basic geometry and arithmetic are all that remain. :(

Moose

2004-Sep-29, 01:32 PM

Yeah, that's about right, I think. I had no problems with basic derivatives. They made sense as far as it went. I struggled a bit with integrals (the rationale is clear, but the methods I struggled with), but did well enough in the class thanks to a mighty good prof.

Then I took one look at what came next and decided I'd rather retreat with my mental "army" intact rather than see the squishy remenants of my brain strewn about the battlefield.

In any case, linear algebra (once we get to the proofs section) finished the job. I can grind the numbers efficiently (both by hand or through programming), but I don't even want to know what an eigenvalue is anymore, let alone why I should care.

gethen

2004-Sep-29, 01:33 PM

Whatever I once had is long gone. Very basic geometry and arithmetic are all that remain. :(

Same here. That college calculus fades fast if you don't have occasion to use it. Now and then I think about pulling out my kids' math textbooks and brushing up, just because I want to be able to learn a bit more about other topics that use math a lot, like astronomy. And to keep my aging brain from freezing up.

Bawheid

2004-Sep-29, 01:37 PM

Whatever I once had is long gone. Very basic geometry and arithmetic are all that remain. :(

Same here. That college calculus fades fast if you don't have occasion to use it. Now and then I think about pulling out my kids' math textbooks and brushing up, just because I want to be able to learn a bit more about other topics that use math a lot, like astronomy. And to keep my aging brain from freezing up.

Welcome back Gethen. Hopefully you aren't just passing through.

gethen

2004-Sep-29, 01:45 PM

Welcome back Gethen. Hopefully you aren't just passing through.

Yeah, hopefully. Still dealing with the occasional loaner computer and snarling at the workings of a laptop. Thanks for the welcome back.

Wally

2004-Sep-29, 01:46 PM

Ended up taking a few college level course, stopping at advanced algebra & analytical Trig, which just started touching on calculus towards the end. didn't need any more than that, seeings how I was going for a cushy ** in business. . .

Of course, I now remember just enough to make me look stupid. . . :lol:

Bob B.

2004-Sep-29, 01:48 PM

I made it through differential equations in college but I don't remember a darn thing about it - haven't used it since. I still know basic calculus but I haven't used it much either and my integration skills are definitely encrusted with a heavy layer of rust.

Eta C

2004-Sep-29, 02:00 PM

The whole nine yards of grad school group theory, complex analysis, and statistics. As an experimentalist, the stats were the part I used the most. That's still the case. The rest is still buried in there though and could probably be dug up in a pinch.

frogesque

2004-Sep-29, 02:09 PM

I'm with MrObvious and Bawheid.

Basic college degree in Engineering. A lot of the concepts have stuck, like diff equations, vectors and of course the underlying algebra and trig but the actual pen pushing for say, integration would be way above me now.

The things I did have extreem problems with were matrixes. I don't know if it's a physical problem or what but I get sort of 'dyslexia' (for want of a better word) when faced with the tabular layout and it just goes down the tube. We had one predictable problem to do with vibrations in our finals and I just spent 2 days learning the solution method by rote which got me through the paper.

pumpkinpie

2004-Sep-29, 04:36 PM

I was a physics major in college so I had a ton--Calc II and III (one was AP), diffyq, linear, math methods for physics. Had just about enough for a double major but didn't want to take the extra classes. They didn't offer minors in my college.

Then I went on and did much of it over again in grad school--math methods classes at two different levels. I think 4 quarters of it total. I can't remember what they were all called.

My last term at grad school I wasn't taking any math, but of course being physics everything involved math. I was taking 2nd quarter Quantum, and our professor was teaching us path integrals, invented by Feynmann. Some of the toughest math I've ever seen. I never got the hang of them. Anyone else ever work with them? I couldn't even begin to explain.

Calculus is fun until the third semester, when it ceases to be elegant.

If you're talking multivariable calculus, I know what you mean. The first time I was introduced to the concepts of div, grad, and curl, it was very confusing. Then all my upper-level physics courses started out with a one-chapter review of that math. (classical, E&M and quantum at least. and of course all the math physics classes had them.) And when you finally start applying them to physics problems, they start to make sense. I think got the hang of it by the third time around! Kind of making me want to dig out the old books. Someone mentioned Arfken, I've got that here in my cubicle at work!

ToSeek

2004-Sep-29, 04:45 PM

Calculus is fun until the third semester, when it ceases to be elegant.

If you're talking multivariable calculus, I know what you mean.

That's exactly what I was thinking of.

Normandy6644

2004-Sep-29, 06:00 PM

Calculus is fun until the third semester, when it ceases to be elegant.

If you're talking multivariable calculus, I know what you mean.

That's exactly what I was thinking of.

It's funny, because I always thought that those vector operators could be very elegant. Gauss' theorem, Stoke's theorem, etc, are all really nice. I think it can get really messy though, so maybe that's what you're talking about. But some of them can be rather elegant.

tlbs101

2004-Sep-29, 06:43 PM

LaPlace, Fourier, and Z -transforms are all within the realm of differential equations, and are very useful tools in electrical engineering. I have to use them quite often.

To take a differential equation and "transform" it into a much simpler algebraic equation, solve the algebraic, then "transform" back to the real world, is the only way to go.

One must understand the concepts of divergence and curl to understand how antennas and electromagnetic wave propagation works -- and we all know how important that is for Astronomy.

One of the best things about studying electrical engineering is that you actually get to do something real with the stuff learned in the "dry" math classes. You actually get to see these concepts applied to the real world. Many of the engineering classes I took were nothing more than applied math.

John Jones

2004-Sep-29, 07:04 PM

I took DE as an undergraduate.

Don't make me prove it, because I haven't needed to use it in more years than I care to mention.

ASIDE: I loved chemistry but hated math until I was into my second year of calculus -- at which point it all started to make sense. It was like the stereotypical lightbulb turning on over my head.

I'm trying to help my kids develop a respect for mathematics.

Normandy6644

2004-Sep-29, 08:04 PM

I'm trying to help my kids develop a respect for mathematics.

I think everyone should have respect for math. Not necessarily aptitude (which I can certainly understand), but at least enough understanding to know why math is so powerful. I hate how it seems to be politically correct to "not be a math person" (math being the only subject where people openly announce their ignorance). It doesn't even out at all, because what would you think of a person who said something like, "I've never read any Shakespeare," and sounded proud of it? I think it's similar grounds (though I don't expect everyone to have read Shakespeare, but saying so proudly isn't exactly the mark of the learned).

Tranquility

2004-Sep-29, 08:24 PM

It's funny, because I always thought that those vector operators could be very elegant. Gauss' theorem, Stoke's theorem, etc, are all really nice. I think it can get really messy though, so maybe that's what you're talking about. But some of them can be rather elegant.

Same here.

AliCali

2004-Sep-29, 08:54 PM

I took the first semester of Calculus before I went into Accounting.

I loved math, but hated English courses. In high school, the requirement was four years of English, but one year of math.

Then in college, for an Associate's Degree, I needed about one semester of Math, but at least three semesters of English.

When I majored in accounting and worked towards my Bachelor's, I had to take about three MORE semesters of English.

That's four years of English in high school and about six semesters of English in college.

If my major was anything but math-related, I would've needed one year of math in high school and one year in college.

Is this still the case? Why can students get away with very minimal math courses with a major emphasis in English courses? Perhaps once you get Algebra, you've advanced as far as you need?

siriusastronomer

2004-Sep-29, 09:01 PM

i'm in calc 1 now, but i'm planning to go up to calc 3 and then get the more advanced stuff (differential equations and what not...) however...at the moment...calc 1 is kicking my butt...royally. i should probably go work on it now, i've got homework due tomorrow, fun right?

chiaroscuro25

2004-Sep-29, 10:48 PM

I was taking 2nd quarter Quantum, and our professor was teaching us path integrals, invented by Feynmann. Some of the toughest math I've ever seen. I never got the hang of them. Anyone else ever work with them? I couldn't even begin to explain.

We just barely touched upon them at the end of the first semester of graduate Quantum Mechanics, and while I sort of got the overall concept, the details were way beyond me. I never took any more Quantum after that. (That's the only real hole in my otherwise broad background.)

If you're talking multivariable calculus, I know what you mean. The first time I was introduced to the concepts of div, grad, and curl, it was very confusing. Then all my upper-level physics courses started out with a one-chapter review of that math. (classical, E&M and quantum at least. and of course all the math physics classes had them.) And when you finally start applying them to physics problems, they start to make sense. I think got the hang of it by the third time around! Kind of making me want to dig out the old books.

Unfortunately, multivariable and vector calculus don't ever seem to be taught in math classes in a way that really connects with your spatial intuition. I agree that it was using them in my physics classes that made them become clear.

About halfway through graduate school, I reached a point where I could briefly look at equations and have an intuitive sense of their solutions, properties, etc. The same was true for roughly following complicated derivations. But that just seems to take a lot of use and familiarity.

Someone mentioned Arfken, I've got that here in my cubicle at work!

I always mention Arfkin as the demonstration that even some "classic textbooks" are bad. (It's OK, but not great, as a reference.)

I was always pretty good at math, but until I started calculus, I never really was excited about it. Calculus is where everything starts to come together and become useful (IMHO).

chiaroscuro25

2004-Sep-29, 10:54 PM

Is this still the case? Why can students get away with very minimal math courses with a major emphasis in English courses? Perhaps once you get Algebra, you've advanced as far as you need?

I think we don't require enough math and science for most people, but one can make a case for demanding more English than math (though probably not the extreme ratio that seems to have been forced upon you). Even technical people need good communication skills and should be familiar with key cultural references. Non-technical people do need general science knowledge that they often don't get, but they don't necessarily need all the details.

George

2004-Sep-29, 10:57 PM

One more course and I could of had a math minor. Not sure I could do anything special, but I recently bought "Calculus for Dummies" so I can understand Eroica and others. :)

Mars

2004-Sep-29, 11:55 PM

i'm in calc 1 now, but i'm planning to go up to calc 3 and then get the more advanced stuff (differential equations and what not...) however...at the moment...calc 1 is kicking my butt...royally. i should probably go work on it now, i've got homework due tomorrow, fun right?

Calculus gets easier once you get into Integrals. Brush up on your algebra

Normandy6644

2004-Sep-29, 11:58 PM

i'm in calc 1 now, but i'm planning to go up to calc 3 and then get the more advanced stuff (differential equations and what not...) however...at the moment...calc 1 is kicking my butt...royally. i should probably go work on it now, i've got homework due tomorrow, fun right?

Calculus gets easier once you get into Integrals. Brush up on your algebra

I don't know, I mean there are a lot more "tricks" needed to integrate than differentiate. Plus a good deal of integration either can't be done at all, or has to be done in the complex plane. But to echo one thing you said, do brush up on algebra. :D

Tranquility

2004-Sep-30, 05:01 AM

Yeah but then using all those integration techniques can be fun. I really enjoyed calculus II in college (skipped calculus 1 because I did math in A levels), and the most fun I had was with infinite series then with integration.

Solfe

2004-Sep-30, 05:06 AM

You missed a choice... high school business math. Now I can't vote.

#-o

It's funny, I have never bothered to take a math class outside of high school, but seem to do ok.

I did take a survey class this year and did alright, a B+.

I bribe my co-workers by doing their stat home work. (It's not cheating. I am a paid consultant) :lol:

Solphe

ToSeek

2004-Sep-30, 03:02 PM

I've been a software engineer supporting NASA for the last 20 years and haven't used anything past algebra.

Normandy6644

2004-Sep-30, 03:33 PM

I've been a software engineer supporting NASA for the last 20 years and haven't used anything past algebra.

To me it isn't always about "what's this good for?" like every younger student asks, it's about the thought process behind solving problems and knowing that there is mathematics out there that describes most everything in the universe. It's a sense of grandeur really, and I don't think you can make your mind do anything more analytical than solve a difficult math problem, and then the satisfaction you get when you've done so. it's just fantastic.

Note: ToSeek I wasn't implying that you have the "it's not good for anything" sentiment, I was just using what you said as a starting point. :)

papageno

2004-Sep-30, 03:57 PM

i'm in calc 1 now, but i'm planning to go up to calc 3 and then get the more advanced stuff (differential equations and what not...) however...at the moment...calc 1 is kicking my butt...royally. i should probably go work on it now, i've got homework due tomorrow, fun right?

[Homer Simpson's voice] Wait a minute! [/Homer Simpson's voice]

That's not fair!

I had differential equations in my first undergraduate year!

But, in my defense, I started understanding calculus only in my third year.

Yorkshireman

2004-Sep-30, 04:41 PM

I'm with tlbs101 here, I did maths and physics A Levels and then an Electronic Engineering degree. For the engineering you use complex numbers a lot, and I always quite enjoyed the maths where I could see it had physical applications. Obviously with an interest in astronomy and spaceflight as well, I was glad to pick up differential equations and the geometry of conic sections.

I could never get as enthusiastic about 'pure' maths though. Group theory left me cold.

Nearly 20 years ago now though... so faced with an exam paper, I'd probably flunk it.

Rob.

ToSeek

2004-Sep-30, 05:02 PM

I've been a software engineer supporting NASA for the last 20 years and haven't used anything past algebra.

To me it isn't always about "what's this good for?" like every younger student asks, it's about the thought process behind solving problems and knowing that there is mathematics out there that describes most everything in the universe. It's a sense of grandeur really, and I don't think you can make your mind do anything more analytical than solve a difficult math problem, and then the satisfaction you get when you've done so. it's just fantastic.

Note: ToSeek I wasn't implying that you have the "it's not good for anything" sentiment, I was just using what you said as a starting point. :)

No offense taken. I've never used calculus for anything more sophisticated in real life than finding the maximum or minimum of a function, but I'm still glad I learned it. Linear algebra was cool, too.

beck0311

2004-Oct-01, 04:29 AM

Like most of the engineers on the board I took way more math than I have a day to day need for. That's not to say that I wish I hadn't. I took Calc I, II, III, ODEs, Linear Algebra, Statistics and Probability for Engineers, Advanced Engineering Analysis, PDEs and, for some reason, Vector Calculus.

I just want to add that I think that Calc III was by far my favorite. It is part of the reason I took Vector Calc, both of which I found to be quite elegant mostly because the equations of fluid mechanics can convey a lot of information in relatively small space through vector notation...of course for almost all real problems they are totally unsolvable but that isn't my fault...is it?

VTBoy

2004-Oct-04, 07:09 AM

I have already taken.

Calc 1, 2, 3

DE

Linear Algebra

I am currently taking

Intro to Abstract Math

Intro to Probability Theory

Advance Linear Algebra ( An upper division linear Algebra)

Normandy6644

2004-Oct-04, 01:24 PM

I'm mightily impressed this topic has received so many posts. Maybe that's the trick, don't actually ask math problems, only general questions about math! :wink:

pteranodon

2004-Oct-04, 02:24 PM

I plan to be able to write computer simulation software, thus dealing with mathematics regularly is required, as any other computer application. Everything in a software is math.

Hah! Computer is back on its feet (metaphorically speaking, of course) and I can comment!

Calc 1 and 2 were great fun

Calc 3 (Calculus of many variables) was a nightmare. Eight people in the class. Seven of us had test averages of about 25%. The eighth got 80%'s. Didn't have a clue, and still don't.

Fourth semester math -- Differential Equations. My favorite class in college! Had a great prof, and loved every minute.

Since college?

Toughest math I've had to solve is, "That's 3 pills a day for seven days, um, twenty-one."

ToSeek

2004-Oct-11, 01:52 PM

I plan to be able to write computer simulation software, thus dealing with mathematics regularly is required, as any other computer application. Everything in a software is math.

I can assure you from personal experience that that's an exaggeration. Most of my software just involves moving bytes from one place to another in various fancy ways - very little math involved.

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