Download How Not to Be Wrong PDF: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg published on 29th May 2014. Read the soft copy of this book anytime, anywhere and download it for free!
Inside this book:
Right now, in a classroom somewhere in the world, a student is mouthing off to her math teacher. The teacher has just asked her to spend a substantial portion of her weekend computing a list of thirty definite integrals.
There are other things the student would rather do. There is, in fact, hardly anything she would not rather do. She knows this quite clearly, because she spent a substantial portion of the previous weekend computing a different— but not very different—list of thirty definite integrals. She doesn’t see the point, and she tells her teacher so. And at some point in this conversation, the student is going to ask the question the teacher fears most:
“When am I going to use this?”
Now the math teacher is probably going to say something like:
“I know this seems dull to you, but remember, you don’t know what career you’ll choose—you may not see the relevance now, but you might go into a field where it’ll be really important that you know how to compute definite integrals quickly and correctly by hand.”
This answer is seldom satisfying to the student. That’s because it’s a lie. And the teacher and the student both know it’s a lie. The number of adults who will ever make use of the integral of (1 − 3x + 4×2 ) −2 dx, or the formula for the cosine of 3θ, or synthetic division of polynomials, can be counted on a few thousand hands.
The lie is not very satisfying to the teacher, either. I should know: in my many years as a math professor I’ve asked many hundreds of college students to compute lists of definite integrals.
Fortunately, there’s a better answer. It goes something like this:
“Mathematics is not just a sequence of computations to be carried out by rote until your patience or stamina runs out—although it might seem that way from what you’ve been taught in courses called mathematics. Those integrals are to mathematics as weight training and calisthenics are to soccer. If you want to play soccer—I mean, really play, at a competitive level—you’ve got to do a lot of boring, repetitive, apparently pointless drills.
Download How Not to Be Wrong PDF by Jordan Ellenberg
- Book Name: How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking
- Author: Jordan Ellenberg
- Language: English
- Status: Available
- Number of Pages: 612 Pages
- Download Format: PDF
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