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Roots of equations

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TheCenturion, 22 Apr 2011.

  1. TheCenturion


    Joined: 18 Mar 2008

    Posts: 12,755

    I went to a mate's house today, and together we managed to teach each other the whole of FP1. All the stuff I was unsure about were his strengths, and my strengths were the things he was unsure about :D
  2. Killerkebab


    Joined: 27 Mar 2004

    Posts: 8,436

    Location: Kent

    FP1 was fun. Proof by induction, yo!
  3. Saundie


    Joined: 9 Oct 2008

    Posts: 2,994

    Location: London, England

    I agree. I did maths at A level and I don't remember any of it, which goes to show just how important further education in maths is.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find a place to hide from the hoards of angry maths fanatics who will no doubt be infuriated by the above statement ;)
  4. BetaNumeric


    Joined: 6 Mar 2011

    Posts: 140

    Location: Scotland, UK

    Burn him!!! :p

    I think for most people further education in mathematics is similar to further education in the physical sciences, few people ever make use of it explicitly but it'd be great if more people had said education anyway. It's more obvious in the sciences, where if more people had a better grasp of basic science we'd not have so much issue with "OMG [something scientific] is going to kill us, the media said so!!" scares and rumours. I think if people understood a little bit more maths and science than the average person currently seems to then it would help when public discussions about various new scientific ideas or lines of research come up. All too often the people most vocal about "I think [X] is a waste of money, why is it being researched?!" are those with the least knowledge.

    Of course you can make that case for just about everything, it'd be nice if everyone's education in everything were better, but considering how huge an impact science has on our lives and how we're now advancing to the point where important questions need to be addressed (particularly in regards to biotechnology) a good grounding in basic science would be useful even if you don't use it in your day to day life.

    To use a vague analogy, I don't know how to fix my car if it breaks down but having a basic understanding of which bits do what means that when the mechanic at the garage says "Do you want me to do X or Y?" I am at least vaguely informed as to WTF he's talking about.

    Besides, mathematics rocks and everyone should be forced to do it 10, no, 14 hours a day. That'll be my first decree when I use mathematics to take over the world!! [cue crazy laughter]
  5. Castiel

    Perma Banned

    Joined: 26 Jun 2010

    Posts: 0

    I don't think you need to have an in-depth knowledge of something to have an appreciation of its benefits.

    I can understand the need for a basic maths and basic science because they are applicable to everyday life, but other than that I feel that unless you need or hold an interest in more advanced maths and to a lesser extent science, you need not have an understanding of it to accept and appreciate its value.

    A good example is medicine, I have no idea how the doctors fixed me up many years ago....but I appreciate that they did and I equally value the knowledge they had to do so.
    Last edited: 24 Apr 2011
  6. BDEE


    Joined: 21 Apr 2011

    Posts: 2,846

    Ask me one on sport?
  7. BetaNumeric


    Joined: 6 Mar 2011

    Posts: 140

    Location: Scotland, UK

    I didn't say you did. I was referring to how it would be beneficial if more people have a better basic ground in science so that they are a bit more informed in discussions of a scientific ilk. The knee jerk ignorant reactions which are all too common when it comes to discussions of new technologies illustrate what sort of problems can arise when you have a group who know nothing about a subject but who want to voice an opinion none-the-less. Of course people shouldn't have their opinion silenced, it'd just be better for all if their opinion were informed a little.

    True. The issues I refer to are more in regards to when there's a public debate on whether something should be funded or something should be allowed to be researched or further developed. People appreciate the applications after the research has been done and the thing in question understood better. The issue of whether a line of research or whether a particular technology should be used is not so clear cut because often the applications are not immediately apparent. Many of the things we now take for granted and are endemic in our lives started out as very blue sky research which didn't immediately seem to have applications.

    Just this week there's been a thread on the forum about whether space technology is worth the money. What about other areas of science? Would the debate be better if everyone were familiar, even to just A Level standards, with science? Of course. For instance, someone said "What has the space race given us?" and then someone provided a list on the NASA website of the sorts of technology we take for granted now but which came from the space race and its legacy. That's the sort of 'ignorance' I think a bit of education would help to address.

    Scientists are ultimately answerable to the public, since its the public who determine the law and, indirectly, the funding of projects. If there's a big enough outcry from the public then the course of science is changed. For instance, Germany shut down all of its nuclear reactors after the problems in Japan, due to public outcry. Does Germany suffer level 9 earthquakes? Was there any danger? No, but the public suddenly went "OMG!! Nuclear power is dangerous!!". Things like stem cell research has also been mired in problems and the less said about the entire MMR farce the better. All of those situations could have been improved (not solved, but at least improved) if the general public's level of science understanding were a bit higher. Heck, I said A Levels a moment ago but I wonder how many could pass even a GCSE exam now, despite everyone having sat something akin to that when they were in school.

    Anyway, this is a little off topic for the original post.
  8. FeFiDoh


    Joined: 17 Aug 2005

    Posts: 7,596

    Location: Swindon

    Reading the first few posts in this thread makes me realise why I do hate maths, it is like a completely different language and my brain can not handle such things.

    Looks like complete jibberish.
  9. Mason-


    Joined: 18 Jun 2010

    Posts: 5,925

    Location: Essex

    If it's any consolation FP2 + FP3 are way easier than FP1, that makes little sense but it's way easier. If you do C3 + C4 along with them, then FP2 + FP3 is basically advanced C3 and advanced C4, A2 I'm finding way easier than AS.
  10. Stupot_


    Joined: 20 Sep 2009

    Posts: 2,923

    Location: Portsmouth

    So it was kind of... Give and take?
  11. Castiel

    Perma Banned

    Joined: 26 Jun 2010

    Posts: 0

    In light of your clarification, I am in total agreement...:)
  12. GreatAuk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 3 Apr 2009

    Posts: 2,462

    Location: Warrington

    I have to say that for me (on edexcel), I found FP1 fairly simple with a bit of work, but I'm finding FP2 impenetrable. I'm sure with some work it'll all click into place, but from the outset I've found FP2 MUCH harder than FP1.

    Although I am finding FP2 much more interesting than FP1 - De Moivre's theorum, and the Maclaurin/Taylor series stuff was actually really enjoyable, just seeing bits of maths expanded on and connected was great (I still need to learn it all though!).
  13. Judgeneo


    Joined: 15 May 2010

    Posts: 10,093

    Location: Out of Coventry

    Until I clicked on that link above and saw the alphas and betas I had no idea how to solve that equation, and I got an A in that module only 4 years ago, and am now doing a maths/physics degree.

    Honestly you never need to solve cubics by hand, proof and derivision is much more important, and indeed more interesting.

    Like this guy did ^ Nice and simple :)

    Any who, I have a vector analysis/complex analysis exam tomorrow, so I should really get back to learning Cauchy's residue theorem....