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Mathematics - August 11, 2010
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Spiked Math Comic - Mathematics

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Oh god, is it really like this? I'm just going into first year university now, in UWaterloo's Math Faculty, and everything looks awesome. Please tell me it won't stop being awesome!

you too? cool! I'm going into second year now...
*stares at comic in fear*

Hey! So am I! :D


But what about us amateurs? We're in it for the love...

You guys get to travel down the blue line of hearts never knowing the pain math can give you ;-)


I have a B.S. in Comp Sci, and my degree program was *very* math heavy. Even so, I'd consider myself an amateur not having had to go through comprehensive exams and such.

I have actually known a small fraction of the pain of math, but since most of it was outside of class, I always had the option of abandoning what I was looking into and playing Doom. :-D

Furry cows moo and decompress.

I almost want this as a poster.
I'm also in the crowd of first-years. Please don't say my love for number-crunching will end!

Soon, you won't be crunching numbers at all...

Im just heading into third year... the bit involving real analysis is so true...

*sigh* too true. I'm at the "Master's Thesis" stage now, and I'm afraid that this may be the end for me. I'll be moving on to the "Amateurs of the blue line" path once I have my diploma.

seriously, you only get to real analysis in third year? you do a degree in math and the closest thing you do to actual maths in the first two years is basically physics?

Depends on the school I suppose. My first year I took 4 math courses and 6 science courses. The second year we did have take a real analysis course which had about 100 students. The first midterm had an average of 30% with no curve... The impression I got is that real analysis (and the required stats courses) were courses that killed your passion in mathematics. Of course the prof who taught the stats courses at that level sounded like Ben Stein and had the most monotone voice ever. He had been teaching the same course for about 30 years and did not ever deviate from his prepared notes.

I guess the equivalent in Biblical Studies is having to take Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew the first year, plus a modern language...

i'm on my last year of high school, but i'm already humping differential/integral calculus... is something wrong with my brain?

Well maybe for the US, but in Europe (at least in Belgium) if you take math among your options, you already have good basics in differential and integral calculus two year before the end of high school.
What we see at the university afterwards (in engineering) starts with ODEs and partial derivatives, a big reminder of integral calculus + the Fubini theorem Gauss-Ostrogradsky and stuff, and linear algebra (matrices).

Depends on what you really include when you say that you're humping diff/int calculus :)

In North America, schools vary a lot. Educational systems vary from state to state (or province to province), and can vary a lot within each state/province. Sometimes the public universities have to account for students who come from weaker secondary schools. At my alma mater, first-year students could be as much as 1.5 or 2 years apart, not only because of ability but because some schools didn't offer relatively "advanced" math courses. Some students would still be doing pre-calculus algebra and trig in their first year of university whereas others could be doing real analysis by the end of their first year.

It's inefficient and unfair to students, not to mention the loss, both financially and academically to society. However, a dedicated intelligent student who sees the opportunities and works hard can make up for that and succeed.

Distance education open universities have the potential to change this. Secondary school students can now do university courses online while they're in high school and then transfer the credit to their destination university after finishing high school. But this only works for secondary students who can afford it, are aware of the opportunities and aren't held back by teachers, school administrators or parents...

Secondary schools in North America are very hit-and-miss.

Reminds me of the first college I went to--they had 6 or 7 intro math sequences. 101-102-103 might have been remedial, I don't remember, but 111-112-113 through 161-162-163 all ended up at the same point, in theory--to differential and integral calculus. The lower courses met 5 times per week; the last one only three times, and covered things from a more theoretical basis. That's how that school handled the variety of student backgrounds coming in.

Most states in the U.S. have laws that require the school district to pay for college courses that aren't offered by the school. This usually leaves the student paying for the book and getting college credit for it

What do you mean by "college courses that aren't offered by the school" ?

Asking because, strictly speaking, most college courses are not offered by secondary schools. :)

I'm not trying to be snarky... legitimately wondering how the cutoff between post-secondary school level and secondary school level is determined, for the purposes of telling the secondary school district, "You were supposed to teach this before the students graduated."

Well, I was doing Vector Calculus in Grade 11 (unofficially, of course; teachers don't seem to expect students to get that far...), so if there's something wrong with you, there's most definitely something wrong with me.

I am going into second year at UW too. :)

Hey! So am I! :D

... so how many people actaully tried to find this function?

I did:

(2^x (ln(2)sin(x) - cos(x))) / (1+ln^2(2))+C

I believe that more people need give online colleges a chance.

Thanks for bringing together two of my favorites - math and comics!

Combinatorics...? Discrete Maths? ... I am learning it right now.

despite being just a year 1 student in Math.

I cant find whats tough about that antiderivative...
its ( sin(x)*ln(2)*(2^x) - cos(x)*(2^x) ) / (1+ln(2)*ln(2)) + C

I am now at the "Stupid real analysis" step. I can't say I hate math, I still love it. But this course, along with probability... argh ! How are we supposed to come up with all those proofs all by ourselves ?! Thanks to SpikedMath, I think I'll take a class in Graph theory during my last year of undergraduate studies.

Professors have short-term memory loss it seems.

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Hello my fellow math geeks. My name is Mike and I am the creator of Spiked Math Comics, a math comic dedicated to humor, educate and entertain the geek in you. Beware though, there might be some math involved :D

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