Friday, May 11, 2007

Lots of things

To be honest I haven't really thought much about this post! I don't really think a lot before posting most times, but today I really have no thought whatsoever. I mean I normally have an idea, and then I type and then there are lots of ideas and suddenly I have a post! Today I don't have one concrete idea, but too many ideas which I should try avoiding cramming into one post.

Today has been a hectic day in more than one way. I feel happy. Not because I've been sad all my life, but because I feel 'good'. Before everyone gets carried away my revision table has been slightly altered. I was meant to finish series of today, and there's a chance of that being possible (very slim but it's only 9:30 so let's be positive!) but tomorrow morning was my backup plan. I'm on the last topic- power series. The 'weird' thing is that I know how to answer the questions for this topic but the whole theory is going woosh over my head! I mean intervals this blah and if x_0 less than x_1.... yes I have quickly skimmed over the section, but my brain doesn't feel prepared to learn anymore theory. Although it is unfortunate that I'm actually 'cram' learning series. If you ask me some theorems I'll find it difficult to remember them.

This has prompted me to get an A4 piece of paper and write the tests, conditions and what they show on it (as well as little theorems). So if I get a spare minute, or have a 'panic' about forgetting something I can have a quick recap by looking at the sheet of paper. I've only done this for the series but I'm sure a sheet of paper for sequences will soon follow. I did some questions today on 'absolute' convergence.. muhahaha. Erm ... well it had that evil tone to it- I mean if you were going to be a maths dictator you have got to have that in your vocabulary! 'Our goal is 'absolute convergence' and we'll not stop until it's achieved' *cue evil laugh (and possibly a few raised eyebrows!)*

The plan I discussed yesterday is the reason for my feel good factor, and I'm glad it went as planned. I really enjoyed implementing it, and I don't think there's anything wrong in showing people that you appreciate them.

You see I've realised from ages ago that I'm a very teacher motivated learner. This has it's disadvantages, but I like it this way since the advantages are more important to me! I mean teachers don't always just teach you what the kernel is. I'd say that they have a more important role than that (some may disagree). I mean with lecturers it's slightly different, but still it's what you make of them. I mean really I still consider myself to be a kid i.e. not an adult, and it's possible that my erm behaviour reflects that I'm possibly a big kid! Whose to blame- my parents for being big kids as well :D (ok well not always, but hey, who else can I blame?). Sadly I might scare the few lecturers from who I do look for and find inspiration from, but I'm hoping that they're looking at the positives that I'm going to be gone in two years (not if I can help it though.) This is only because I work on this motivation and don't want it to go away. I need it to push me and get me working hard!

Yes I'm going of another tangent, and one which I have possibly been on before. Take the title lecturer away and what you have is a teacher. Now I can honestly say that in my education so far, the major factors of the directions my life has taken has been my teachers- the ones who have motivated me and who I think are exceptionally cool. OK, it's inevitable that I'm going to once again mention Dr C, (example class today :D), but if he hadn't taught me in the first semester I'm sure that I wouldn't have my 'head in the game'. I mean, I think (know) he's the reason that I have become 'obsessed' with maths. Initially I did maths for various reasons, and probably didn't appreciate it as much as I do now. Prof S is another lecturer who I find cool as well. Obviously, he's different to Dr C so gives me different motivation, but nevertheless the motivation is there. I can't really explain this properly without sounding like someone who needs to be locked up! (I did try explaining myself today, but I'll save that explanation for another day since you might already be more worried than normal).

The example class was as always great. I think today I tired myself out by possible talking too much (as suggested by the staff) rather than walking! In my defence I think jumping to touch the ceiling at the same time as talking is pretty tiring-it was a high ceiling. Although some people unfortunately 'chickened out' of making the jump, even when I proposed that they could have a little run up. (they know who they are- Fizz and one of the staff at the example class). The only other person apart from me who got the medal for touching the high ceiling was Dr C. Although he didn't have to jump that high, but it takes courage to do such daring things! (Did I say that this ceiling was high?!) :D The award ceremony is going to be on the opening of the *** ******* which I have just invited myself too! (erm I can't say them words yet- a later post will make things clearer :( )

OK, enough of that- maybe I'm feeling lazy now since I did quite a bit of questions today, but still got some unanswered questions. I hope to catch Dr C on the morning of the exam (nothing wrong with last minute cramming!) to get them questions answered. The bonus of the example class is that I don't always learn about sequences and series but other maths stuff as well.

Now here's where I require some help of you guys. I'm having three birthdays this year. Wait- that doesn't mean I'm turning 7, then 8 and then 9! I'm going to turn 7 on my real birthday in June of course, but the Tweenies are not going to be here for that! My mum has recently been getting .... 'iffy' about my growing collection of maths books which at this moment is not bounded above!! Now she thinks that I'm going to go crazy because of them, but the books that I have on Linear Algebra for example are not exactly what I'd read in my spare time. They're there for when they're needed i.e. if I'm doing questions or forget things etc. (I saw two book shelf's today of two maths lecturers and boy did I internally turn green- I mean it was so tempting to pick one out and go 'hmmm, I like this book- must buy!'.

Ok, so maybe my mum has a reason to be concerned! You see I've bought about 5 maths books recently like the one by Paul Hoffman for the 'general reading'. I've only read letters to a young mathematician yet, since I felt that it was unwise to read any maths books which would ultimately prove to be a distraction. So these 4 unread books wait for the holidays. My first birthday has already been- I mean whenever I get a present it's technically my birthday! The other day as I went through the book shop with Milo, I had to obviously stop by the maths section. I picked one book up which I wanted to buy, and Milo suggested buying it for me. I declined since I think birthday presents should be surprises (I get annoyed when people tell me what they're going to get me!). We had a debate over this and ultimately Milo got me this other book- as a present, early but who cares I now had two books. Great!

My next birthday is on the 22nd May, but this is just with the Tweenies. Now my question to you guys is which books would you recommend that 'I ask for' for my birthday. It seems, as you can imagine, that I'm not the most easy person to get a present for! Certain people are feeling suicidal over this matter (not really obviously- I was going for the dramatic effect!). So I proposed making a list of books which I might want, just to give people an idea.

I've been asking around and have the following two after todays discussions:

Hilbert by Constance Reid (actually might buy this myself!)
Music of Primes by Marcus Du Sautoy (this sounds interesting since it's on number theory I heard)

EDIT (maybes?):
Cryptography: A Very Short Introduction- Fred Piper, Sean Murphy
Recreations in the Theory of Numbers- A.H. Beiler
The Magical Maze: Seeing the World Through Mathematical Eyes - Ian Stewart

So what books would you recommend I add to this list (not the very expensive ones!) and what do you think of the ones I have? I've got a reading list on the side, and might put some of them down (but I'd rather get most myself for obvious reasons). I have What is Mathematics on my reading list, but I'm not sure whether I'm into the philosophy of things anymore! Obviously the number of books that I know of is limited, so any suggestions would be appreciated (not just for the list but for myself). Is it sad that I'm excited about getting a maths book on my birthday?:o (One day I'll probably be wishing that I didn't get maths books on my birthday, but hopefully that days a long way off!). I wouldn't mind getting books on certain topics (say cryptography etc) but these books tend to be expensive. :/ My mum thinks I've wasted a lot of money on books, but I think it's a good investment!

Am I making a big deal over this trivial matter? Possibly, but since I won't be getting any books from my family I have to take advantage of this list! (I'm thinking of making a list for them, but they can suffer. No one likes it when it's my birthday, apart from me :D )

Where to end this post- here would be a good place, yes maybe. But before I do, I must once again comment on CONSISTENCY. I appreciate that now- very much! Also I did say this post was going to be a 'Friday' type so do I still have to say sorry! I'll leave you with this quote which I like:

"You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing."

Michael Pritchard


beans said...

BTW what is the difference between hardback and paperback books (apart from the obvious thing!)? I mean does the content differ greatly? Because the hardback edition of musics of primes has more pages than the paperback one (like other books as well).

I like hardback books more than paperback ones since they tend to survive for longer! I've only just gotten over trying to buy the hardback version of books since they tend to be quite expensive. But I can't deny that they're not cool!

egm said...

There's exact same content in both. It's just the cover material that differ.

I have Music of the Primes which I read a month ago. Great book! Hadn't heard of the Hilbert book till now, so I can't comment on that.

beans said...

Oh right- will get the paperback one then! Gosh- I do wish the exams were over already!

Hilbert is a biography of the man written by Reid- was recommended to me so I'm eager to get that.

Jake said...

I actually took the Hilbert book out of the library a couple of weeks ago but didn't get to read it!

I had left it in my locker and forgotten about it and then when I realised I had left it there it was due back. For some reason it was given 'popular loan' status which means it could only be borrowed for 7 days (as opposed to the normal month long period). I was quite confused by this as a cursory glance at the library's 'Due back' card inserted into the front of the book revealed that it had been borrowed 4 times in the last 5 years.

beans said...

I'm sure you can make that 5 times when you get it out again. :D

I can't take any more books out of the library, since I'm stubbornly not returning the ones I have! (I keep on renewing them :o) But didn't the library have one available for a month- I sometimes pick the one week loan up by accident, since I don't check to see whether it's the one for normal loan.