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Old 02-21-10, 07:11 PM   #1
phantomcow2
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Are other math departments so theoretical?

When I took calculus at my state university, I felt like the purpose of class was to help the students become engineers. Application and problem solving was heavily emphasized, and proofs/complex derivations were usually taught at the end of a section. Now, at my current college, I feel like the math classes are trying to make students into mathematicians; my linear algebra class is almost entirely proof/derivations with zero application. Personally, I prefer learning about application first, getting a feel for how whatever it is functions, then learning the formal proof.

I'm getting pretty annoyed with this, as I'm not remotely enjoying the classes anymore. I think I'll be changing to an English minor. Are other colleges exclusively theoretical like this?
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Old 02-21-10, 07:14 PM   #2
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remember, no matter what people say your paying for it so that makes you the boss, change classes or even schools till you find the one that works for you.
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Old 02-21-10, 07:19 PM   #3
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Unfortunately, I'm a junior right now. Transferring is something I have already done and don't wish to do again. I enjoy parts of studying math, but it's to the point that I find myself unmotivated and bereft of desire to go to class, to have a bunch of proofs stuffed down my throat, and to have no room for creativity whatsoever -- part of the allure to engineering. I think there's something wrong when the average gpa in a department is 2.427 and there are only 9 graduating majors.
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Old 02-21-10, 07:26 PM   #4
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Where I was an undergrad, there was math math and engineering math. The latter was all applied, the former was heavy on theory. Either met the pre-req for physics. Short answer, my limited experience of math departments is yes they do theory 'cause other people do applied.
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Old 02-21-10, 10:11 PM   #5
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Linear Algebra is like that, at least it was at my school, and we have nothing but engineers and other technical majors. At my school there were some aero courses that were equivalents for some math classes like vector calc, but were much more applied. See if they have anything like that.
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Old 02-22-10, 10:30 AM   #6
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What's math?
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Old 02-22-10, 11:20 AM   #7
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I went to a state school (graduated this past December), and Calc I was easy enough with application, but then it stopped altogether. EVERYTHING is theory-based. I can only recall a couple of lectures out of the next 3 math courses that discussed application at all (Calc II, III, differential equations). Diff Eq was really out of control. I have no idea why we did anything.
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Old 02-22-10, 02:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
Where I was an undergrad, there was math math and engineering math. The latter was all applied, the former was heavy on theory. Either met the pre-req for physics. Short answer, my limited experience of math departments is yes they do theory 'cause other people do applied.
When I was in colege the majors classes were pretty theoretical. But it includes some application and plenty of non-proofs. Non-majors was light on theory and also light on actually working things out, instead it was memorize all the tables of integrals in the back of the book.

For application I got plenty in my Physics classes.
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Old 02-23-10, 01:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bikernator View Post
I went to a state school (graduated this past December), and Calc I was easy enough with application, but then it stopped altogether. EVERYTHING is theory-based. I can only recall a couple of lectures out of the next 3 math courses that discussed application at all (Calc II, III, differential equations). Diff Eq was really out of control. I have no idea why we did anything.
Same here. But for me the theoretical bent suited me well because I was a math major. My impression was that the engineers and scientists learned the mathematical techniques they needed to know in engineering and science classes.
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Old 02-24-10, 02:28 PM   #10
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My Linear class was a nice combination of theory and application. We did the various derivations but also did a fair amount of applications. Sometimes it is also a matter of the choice of textbook. We used Steven J. Leon's book (2nd ed.) <---- (I have a very scary memory for these things) and it had a fair number of applications as well as theory.
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Old 02-27-10, 12:29 AM   #11
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but do you have teachers that change the rules after you take a test
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Old 02-27-10, 01:09 PM   #12
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...I feel like the math classes are trying to make students into mathematicians; my linear algebra class is almost entirely proof/derivations with zero application.
I think that's typical of math classes taught by math departments at universities, whether state or private. Community colleges may be different, and math taught by engineering or computer science department tend to stress applications rather than proofs of theorems. At least that's the way it was when I was in school, eons ago. Working toward an MSEE, I was required to take some upper division or grad level math courses...after the first one, I swore I'd never take another, and managed get the EE department to accept computer science numerical analysis (linear algebra) classes instead.
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