Discussion about math, puzzles, games and fun. Useful symbols: ÷ × ½ √ ∞ ≠ ≤ ≥ ≈ ⇒ ± ∈ Δ θ ∴ ∑ ∫ π -¹ ² ³ °

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bob bundy wrote:

hi bit-eater

Welcome to the forum.

Maths is such a wide field. Where do you want to start?

Bob

That is a big question. I don't know where to start, given the variety of things that I'm interested in. One of my interests is computers. Maybe you're familiar with Linux and GNU? In Linux, there is the GNU toolset, which is a general set of software tools which can be used as modular filters and functions for working upon data in general to solve problems and do interesting things. I want to have an understanding of what tools are available in math, and be able to pick and choose a set of math tools for solving problems and doing things that are interesting to me, whatever my interest is at the moment. I want to understand how those tools work so that I can approach a variety of problems, being able to analyze those problems, and coming up with solutions that work and aren't too clunky.

Also, I'm interested in how patterns reoccur in nature and nature's designs.

I want a mental toolset to use for general inquiry, play, and problem solving. I wonder where I should start. Also, I sometimes recognize familiar patterns in general problems, which I would like to be able to abstract, so that when I see the pattern come up in a different area of interest, I know how to relate it and deal with it.

Hopefully this doesn't read like a bunch of mushy babble.

**bit-eater**- Replies: 8

Hi, everyone. I got drawn into the site by the Boxup puzzle game, and now I'm signed up on *another* forum. Cool site.

I'm here to learn. I have been out of school for quite a few years, and I never got further than high school algebra in math. I wasn't particularly good at it, either. I never had too much trouble understanding concepts in math, but I did have trouble with written language and notation used to describe math. I can expand on that if needed. Also, I feel like I didn't understand what is interesting about math concepts, how to play with them on my own, and how they can be applied in solving concrete problems. In other words, I feel like I learned how to do the mechanics without knowing how to do anything interesting with the concepts. Maybe it was me being a dense kid, or maybe it was how I was taught.

I'm looking to get a good overview of what the major branches of math are about, relearn the basic stuff that I have long forgotten, and try to kindle my general interest in math. I have been browsing Wikipedia for math topics, which is somewhat helpful. Looking at some old texts and thumbing through some new ones, it seems that textbooks in general aim to teach mechanics without much enlightenment into mathematical thinking. As I said, I never got very far in math, and for all that I know, that stuff comes later. But it seems to me that learning math would be much more interesting from the get go if the instruction was geared toward thinking mathematically, rather than 'plug and chug'.

So, hi again, that's my spill, and I'm open to any words of wisdom.

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