Monday, April 09, 2007

'There's a limit to everything...

... Beans.' As I was told by my dad today. Or did he say 'everything has a limit'? Well whatever he said, I didn't think that he would have found it funny if I had 'corrected' him and said, 'No Dad, everything doesn't have a limit. Somethings 'diverge'. Things only converge to a limit if for all epsilon more than zero, there exists a natural number which depends on this epsilon, such that for all numbers more than or equal to this number, | (the thing in question)- l | where l is called the limit of that thing'. Yes that probably doesn't make much sense, but it's me trying to remember definitions and write them using words! Now I'm actually grateful that I didn't say all this mumbo jumbo about epsilon, because my father continued by saying, 'You won't get anywhere in life by messing around with equations all the time'.

Therein lies the problem. I have on occasions talked about maths to my dad, and told him that maths is 'important' because most things that we use depend on maths but it's all in the background eg. the internet. These conversations mostly arose when he would quiz me on what exactly I do, and whats the big deal with maths at university. 'It's not the same as school dad, no way. It's bloody harder for one, and it's no longer just having equations and playing around with them. We have to prove things! It's completely different, and pretty interesting if I may add. Yes it hards and I'm a bit thick, that's why you see me spending too much time doing maths, but hopefully things will click.' Used to be what I would normally respond with. He would shake his head in disbelief and I used to be happy. However, now it seems like all my conversations have been pointless. :D But let me say this- it's not only my dads viewpoint on maths that 'converges' to 'equations and numbers'. No sir, it's all the people who I know who don't do a maths degree. Noddy, Po, friends, family you name it, the first thing that comes out of there mouth is 'three years of equations/numbers/anything which is not remotely true- you must be mad!'.

Now I don't really mind this. The amount of times I've tried to reply with something 'cool' about maths, the audience seem to recoil. I've given up explaining what exactly doing a maths degree is, but that doesn's stop me from freaking everyone out by saying 'lame old' maths joke. So where was I, yes my dad was once again talking about equations and numbers. So now maybe I should have butted in actually, then he might have realised- ah what numbers? Yes, it's a circular arguement which I'm not too particularly fond of so I do nothing now.

You're probably amazed that I'm not crying or moaning, because that is what I normally do. I was maybe angry for a second, but that was a tiny second at that as well. You see it's weird that I'm struggling not because I don't want to study maths, not because I can't be bothered exploring my subject further, but because I want to please certain people. A few posts ago, I noted that since I'd tried to compromise my 'social life' (pfft) and 'maths life' I'd created a problem for myself. Is it too hard to understand that maths can give someone pleasure? Now if you're feeling weak at the knees after reading that comment, then it's best if you stop here and click on the cross in the top right hand corner. I'm still going to write a post about maths in year 9....etc. However, why don't people understand that whilst I was in year10/11 I used to do maths when I was bored. Yes, I'm slightly embarrassed by writing that down, since only a few people know this about me. But yeah- x belonging to maths => x belongs to 'social life'. Humbug. :D

You see as you've probably already realised (hopefully) I like doing maths. Football, cricket, sports, playing video games, eating, reading, walking up 245 stairs a day, walking in general are but only a few other interests that I have. However, there's no denying that the pressure of passing and of having to learn and understand maths in a certain time span, is worrying. That's why I've probably let the other things I like doing-eating as well!- move down the pecking order. There's no point in me really writing this, but I wanted to show that I do have some 'normal' interests.

So before I got distracted I was saying that I know that there's more to life than maths, but I'll see them things once my exams are over. ;) Yes that's a joke! I know that maths might not take me places, but at the moment I'm content with where it's taking me.

Sigh. I've lost the plot after the phone distracted me. You see nowadays, these things don't anger me. Yes being 'obsessed' with anything is not good for someone, this I understand. It's not healthy. The same thing happened when I was badly 'obsessed' with football. This 'obsession' is who I am. Deal with it is what I want to tell everyone. Nope, beans is not angry because beans no longer has doubts about whether I want to do maths or not. Before I was considering transferring course- that sounds scary now! However, one can never say anything for definite. All I'm going to say that it's a lose lose situation at the moment. If I try to 'balance' (pft again!) things then that's not good for me, and if I don't try to balance things then that's not too good for me as well. But truly, I'm now finding the whole situation sadly amusing. I'm laughing at it. Laughing at my stupidity as well maybe. But yeah- I'd rather prefer laughing about this than moaning! I hope that no matter what happens, I'm doing maths next year. :)

Now my original title for this post was meant to be 'Dreams, dreams go away, come back another day'. You know in the same way as a child in primary school you used to sing, 'rain rain go away and come back another day', so that you could play outside. If you're feeling all gloomy at this moment, (for whatever reason :D) then cheer up! Because what I'm going to write next is surely going to have you laughing. (probably in disbelief!)

Obviously someone else dream/nightmares are not always pleasing to hear, but recently I've been dreaming about ..... drum roll... maths lectures and maths! Ahhhh. Ha, I think I've actually been missing my lectures. The rough outline on one dream is as follows. We were having a linear algebra lecture by Prof S. I came late but quietly found a place to sit. Now this lecture was hell. Everyone was talking, no one was listening to what was being said and the lecturer was getting angrier and angrier. No seriously he was mad, and he walked out of the lecture theatre. Yet still everyone continued as normal. No one bothered to get up and go as well, however this was soon to be a wise option! Prof S had walked out of the doors on the right hand side but then walked in again through the left hand doors. Now this freaked everyone out, especially after he proceeded to kick everyone who had been talking out! There were only about 20ish people remaining, and then he continued lecturing :D Imagine if he really does that- well the next few lectures I will be holding my breath just in case. ;)

Normally on Fridays we have the two hour calculus lecture first but then the linear algebra one. However this time it was the other way round. After the linear algebra lecture we had the calculus one, and the lecturer was Dr Who. :o Ok, don't be freaked but it was a pretty fun lecture. No time machines and what not, but nevertheless I enjoyed it. The funny thing is that 'Dr Who' aka the lecturer seemed to acknowledge my presence. And there were bits of chalk flying around if you're interested.

Just recently, a Prof (guess who!) was in my living room explaining subspaces to me. Now it's old news that I don't like this topic and hence struggle in it, however whilst it was being explained to me I felt that yeah, I'm going to understand this now! Alas that wasn't the case, whilst I was trying to communicate with this Prof loads of people entered the room and I couldn't hear a word of what was being said! It was chaos- I could hear myself shouting and soon the Prof was lost amongst the stupid people who had flooded the room. I'd even made some tea :( Hehe, it seems that the frustrations that I'm experiencing because of subspaces seem to be occurring in my dreams too.)

And lastly this is not a dream, but like previously, as I lay half awake my eyes seemed to not want to open. 'No, we have to find the LU factorization and the eigenvalues' was what was preventing me from opening them! Note- the LU factorization of a nxn matrix A, without interchanging any rows when reducing to row echelon form! The funny thing is the intensity at which all this was happening. I really felt that I couldn't open my eyes unless I'd done what was required.

That's enough dreams for now, but I figured that I've had enough of this 'holiday'. There no flippin student union shop for one, and I'm always going to be running after 'solitude' it seems. There is one thing which I won't mention, that I know is causing me distress. Nothing to do with maths, and my dad etc. I will probably one day, enlighten you of this thing, but it's what always causes me distress when it's 'not fixed' so to speak. Don't want to be confusing, but since this thing is 'broken' and I'm not 'fixing' it, I feel that I'm fighting a losing battle. :) Can't wait for Monday sadly - next Monday that is. I've been more relaxed today and had fun messing around with LaTeX. My first ever assignment (hopefully) using LaTeX is either going to be my stats coursework or the mechanics one. Sadly not done much else. I probably expect myself to do 'too' much, but why not?

[apologies of the disjoint nature of this post and for there being no pictures! it's the phones fault! And you've probably figured I've been a bad beans today :D (otherwise I wouldn't be getting told of ... again!)]


tdstephens3 said...

oh beans! me too! (not the dream, that's wierd!)

click here

tdstephens3 said...

damn hyperlink...

beans said...

lol, the dream is weird, and what was weirder was that I was actually sad when the calculus lecture had ended! :/ scary!

That video has to be the best :D deserves its own post I think!

Jake said...

I know what you mean and in some ways it is very sad. We live in a country where it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy and follow a keen interest in some things e.g. football and music but on the other hand, it is seemingly a social faux pas to be heavily interested in mathematicss. I don't know what the solution is because I have had debates around this theme with people several times. I just feel it is a great shame that when mathematics is raised conversation, society almost dictates that people say 'oh, thats a waste of time/boring/.../(insert pejorative comment here)' even if they don't really have much experience or knowledge of mathematics themselves.

PS. don't obsess about mathematics; you merely think intensely ;)

beans said...

Jake, I know what you mean as well! When I used to tell people that my favorite subjects in school are PE and Maths, I'd always have to make a 'lame joke' after this. (happened a lot when I went on work experience in year 10!).

On the other hand, people find it equally 'weird' that I don't really have an interest in music! I guess it's just the norm of society to find certain things acceptable.

If it's not boring/waste of time that people say, they always tend to jump to the conclusion that you 'must be a genius to study maths'. I'm living proof of that statement being a false one. You don't have be a genius to study maths- just have had to have the 'right' accidents in life and enjoy the subject. For instance when I was doing maths at college, I knew was doing there maths GCSE resit. Automatically she classed me as 'one of them people'.

To be honest, I'm not sure what my take on this is anymore. Once again like you said, ultimately it is sad. I do joke about it and laugh it off when people make them remarks of it being boring/waste of time/...etc, however I guess we've got to live with it. Ignorance breeds contempt is one of my favorite sayings. :D

beans said...

Oops in that long reply I forgot to mention, that I like the sound of 'thinking intensely'. :D

I'll try that one on my dad next time round, and to anyone who says its obsessing! haha, neat!

egm said...

You have been taken in by letters, I can see :) In your posts there's quite a bit of references to terms that Ian Stewart uses in his book.

It's not only there. Even here, when people have seen me reading maths or engineering books, the automatic question that comes up first is if I'm doing it for work. As though I can't read it just for the sake of enjoyment!

I love that Intensely Thinking too. I'll have to use it sometime...

beans said...

As I was reading the book, I couldn't help but agree with what he wrote. It seemed 'weird' to read the stuff that I was experiencing. Made me feel better as well. It's an ace book, and I've slowly been trying to build up my review on it :p

I know what you mean. And people don't understand that if we read books like 'letters', or nature's numbers then that doesn't mean that we're neccesarily doing bleeding maths! I nowadays have taken to saying, 'Yes it's a good book, you should read it sometime.' just to see the look of horror on peoples faces :D

Just because we're 'intense thinkers' about maths or something else doesn't mean that we're weird. But yeah, it sounds better than obssessed! :D (tell me off if I ever say obssessed again;) )