Wednesday, August 08, 2007

BBC 4 TV Guide.

I might as well write mumbo jumbo stuff here, so it won't pollute the other post (which I hope will be completed soon!) First a comment on time - it's flying!!! Only yesterday it was a Monday and today its a Wednesday. Most worrying indeed. I've been under the weather again, but I think that's because of the actual weather changing. I've also been slightly busy for the past few days, but then again, I only say busy since I leave things to the last minute. Hence, I become busy feeling this pressure when working! (Not really that busy, but compared to the how the holidays have been, I'd say busy). This, 'leaving things till the last minute' must change in the coming year. You see we're going to have more exams now because the work shop module will no longer be available. :(

I suffer from having a non-mathematical family and friends, and so it is with hope that I guide you to todays TV listings for a mathematical night! (Thats a post from Mathematics Under the Microscope, with tonights programmes). Sigh. I'm not too fussed about watching, 'A Beautiful Mind', which is currently on. Yes, I'm not watching it, but I'd like to. And I'd like to watch 'Music of the Primes' and 'Dangerous Knowledge', but it is indeed a dangerous task trying to get possession of the remote control. I have to suffer because of my actions. Two days ago I was delighted to find the remote in my hand, and what can I watch if not the teletubbies, and other such cartoons (add a documentary and sports to the mix as well). I was quite pleased with having the remote, since all that the others could do was glare at me and mutter under their breath. Alas, it is now me who must do the same.

For the past few days I've been trying to find the 'opportune' moment to talk about the proof of Pythagoras's Theorem with my brother, and Po. Both have kept me at bay and I've dejectedly crawled away with my cup of tea. I did actually get a chance to talk to my brother about it, and he couldn't run away, but it wasn't the 'opportune moment'. I think I'm missing talking about maths, and indeed that TV listing has got it right: 'Maths and Madness.' Its either one or the other! Oh dear oh dear. (As say the chuckle brothers). Does an in-between exist?

Today I realised that I'm missing conversing about maths with my fellow class mates and what not, because as I made yet another cup of tea for myself, I found myself talking about 'The Galois Group'. I tend to do that a lot - talk that is (and drink tea of course). Anyway, TW and Po were not really listening as I talked, but pretending to do so. I know this but yet I persevere. So I spoke to them about the double meaning of the groups name. I heard one of them say, 'It should be The Geeky Galois Group' and the other, 'I'd rather be in a group named after Einstein than this nobody'.

Do not worry, if indeed these comments worry you. They were said in good nature, and it is in good nature that I trouble these teletubbies with 'annoying maths', when the last thing on their minds is maths. I won't lie, sometimes they frustrate the life out of me and force me away. That is the aim of their game after all, and when I become frustrated and shut up, I lose. The aim of the game is to win obviously and to not become frustrated, which I try my best to do! However, I think sometimes they take pity on me (and my excitement at talking about maths) and listen to my insane babble, whilst doing other things.

Today I didn't bother with Pythagoras- I've lost that round! My post in the making will reveal more about Galois and other things, but I explained to TW and Po, that although I didn't know much about Galois Groups, his theory played a role in solving Fermat's Last Theorem. They continued with their business, ignoring my excitement. However, I continued since this mock ignorance is just another one of their tactic. Today I didn't enlighten them about the history of Galois, as I did on another occasion. They didn't care about that and didn't understand why the other day, I took a keen interest in this programme about France. [I didn't explain since the remote gave me 'The Power'. Muhahaha. (Had to have an evil laugh somewhere!!) ]

Today I enlightened them about sets (or groups I think). I think it was mainly the set of numbers and not groups, but please excuse any rubbish I speak of. I talked about binary operations (I think). However, they were not to know I was chatting a load of mathematical ........ * (Don't worry, I did tell that I'm not sure about somethings but they just rolled their eyes! Damn me for not being able to do the same - I can't roll my eyes you see.) I spoke about the integers, about how adding one to another gives another integer. How multiplying two gives us another integer. I even ventured further and said that if you divide two integers you don't always get integers. (In a spooky way of course).

This brings about the rational numbers. It was then that Po's acid tongue cut through me, 'I don't even need to know this to pass my GCSEs - it's useless to me.' Ahhh, the pain. I retorted, 'Its general knowledge.' but Po's acid tongue is well trained to these situations and I was met with the question, 'Is it going to help me in my GCSEs. Do I need to know about rational numbers yet?' I sighed, and replied, 'Yes, you'll need to know this....' But before I could say that you have to know how to rationalise the denominator, I was cut once again, 'Well then I'll learn it when I have to. It's not general knowledge- it's general mathematical knowledge.'

And so, my meek reply about general knowledge being general knowledge was lost in the wind. TW was just laughing, watching me lose yet again. However, as a good loser (or someone really familiar with this losing feeling!), I'll pick myself up again and seek to 'annoy' them again. I'll tell you another freaky fact about myself.... ah but I think one ghost story is enough for today.

I'm sat here sulking. Not annoyed but just accepting the situation. I used to hope that Po would do maths at University one day, hence why I always 'encourage' Po about maths. Po is pretty good at maths, but I don't think that Po will embark towards University maths. I don't think he wants to go to University. Its a shame since I think that Po has had bad experiences with teachers, and we both dislike(d) Physics. (I don't anymore). All I can do is keep on bugging Po, and hope that he at least enjoys the maths that he currently does.

A sudden strange feeling has overcome me. I've decided to ultimately look through my first year folders for anything that I didn't understand, since it is my wish to be a 'good' PASS leader. Well I hope not to give anyone the impression that I'm only there to bolster my CV. As I've previously said, I'm not in the right place to talk about my experience of the PASS sessions since I attended but a few sessions. I can only hope not to do what I didn't like being done.

I said to TW that I think I've forgotten everything I've learnt. TW said that I probably didn't revise properly for my exams then. I don't think that's the case though since my problem is that I forget things rather quickly. That is why, on occasions I hate revising ages before exams since I end up forgetting things. My plan has always been to do things as we go along and listen in class, so that revising is actually revising and not re-learning the concepts. I hope that when I do look over things a second time, I'm able to better assimilate this knowledge. I think a sadness has overcome me. Sadness that I unable to control what I do at times. Sadness that I wish I didn't do certain things. Ah well, I can hope to improve. Can you believe one long post just because I can't watch some programmes about Maths. (The video doesn't work as well). Another one has just started now as well. BTW the * was because what vocabulary/words in maths is used to describe something 'rubbish'?

Whilst I ponder on that, I shall end with yet another quote:

The future lies before you,
As a field of driven snow,
Be careful how you tread it,
For every step will show.


steve said...

I know that sometimes we're robotic in out actions, but although I've forgotten what Gödel said about this, he was right. (Well its in my head, but escaping being formed into a sentence!)

Was it: "Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine" ?

beans said...

I can't really remember it properly (since I was too busy talking!), but yes it was something along them lines.:) It was about that and intuition as well.

Anonymous said...

Maths and madness.A hypothetical mine field. An unanswerable question will only manifest itself in ultimate self destruction (if you let it)