Reasons I got into (and out of) a math minor. This post is pretty much for my satisfaction of having posted it than anything else, so feel free to skip this one.

I recently was cleaning out my room and found a new place for all of my old mathbooks, as well as my old notes. I was looking through my notes and found the following page, which inspired a blog posting within (and why not?). Therefore, reasons:

Ascent into the realm of mathmatics:1. God has rules by which He governs the Universe, and He obeys those rules. I'm trying to state that as non-pompus as possible, but this seriously was what facinated me most of mathmatics: the pieces fit together and make sense. It amazes me that Libnitz was able to work out a theory of integral, and somehow that theory works across the whole realm of math: it's the same in polar coordinates, in three dimentions, and (as far as we can tell) hold up at infinity. And somehow in the connectivity of Physics I can take the integral of velocity and somehow get my acceleration (which is why I used Libnitz and not Newton, since Newton was trying to link the two in the first place). It's cold, it's emotionless, but dang, it works.

2. Math blows my mind. The above picture are my notes utilizing one of my favorite formulas (highlighted in picture): the

Dirichlet Function. Dirichlet came up with a theorum that states that for any two irrational numbers (numbers that cannot be expressed as a fraction), no matter how infintessimally together they are, there exists a rational number between them. So the Dirichlet formula utilizes this idea: the formula is that every rational number is expressed as a 1, every other number is expressed as a 0. The amazing thing about this formula is that it is defined for every number that exists, but there are no two points next to each other with the same value. It is everywhere defined, but

everywhere discontinuous. That blows my mind. Another principle derived from this idea (also by Dirichlet) is the

pigeonhole principle. The one that always gets me with this one is the

Birthday paradox, which states that you only need to get 23 people together to have the odds greater that two of them will have the same birthday than that none of them will. That blows my mind.

3. People think that your smart if you take mathmatics. This is kinda a stupid reason to take mathmatics, but putting "Math Minor" on your resume would help anyone in any field. It's a very rigid, intense discipline that requires a lot of study, and I think anyone can appreciate that.

Retreat from the realm of mathmatics:1. First and formost, I'm stupid (no surprises there). What can I remember of my Math 3320 class? That I like the Dirichlet formula. How much will having taken all those math classes help me in the future? I can't even calculate the improbability because I have forgotten how. Some of the principles that were repeated often enough help, sure (everybody was impressed at my work when we tried to get the dimentional weight of a box ([length x width x height]/194) and I knew 16^3, but that happens when you work with a binary number system long enough), but not enough to rationalize the cost.

2. Work load. I had to study twice as hard just to keep up with the class in some of my classes. Last summer was the last math class I ever took. I decided I was done after that. Why? Quite literally, when I wasn't at work or in class, I was working on these problems. This class lasted sixteen weeks with homework due every other week, and most homework was "do 10 of the following 12 problems", and you were graded on the top nine that you got correct, with 102% possible (the highest nine problems constituted 100% of the homework). So we're not talking many problems here. However, I worked on these problems around the clock, often pulling an all-nighter the day the homework was due (which I always tried to avoid, but never could). This class kicked my trash. I've only one class higher than it that I would have had to take for a minor (the next in the series), as well as a few lower level classes, but after having barely passed that course, I fear for my sanity. Not only that, but I would probably have to re-take a few courses to re-learn all of the math I've forgotten in 10 months.

3. It's not necessary. I developed the following theory since my first year at the U: smart people graduate with a degree in Computer Science. Really smart people figure out how to graduate without having to take a course in Computer Science. Since I'm not a Comp. Sci. major any more, I don't use this phrase much, but I think it's applicable. I was putting myself through a furnace of affliction to become something that I didn't know for sure that I wanted to be in the first place. It's been a great relief to be able to set that aside without too much regret.

Anyhow, no one cares, but I wanted to post it anyhow. And I really do like the Dirichlet formula - very cool. (Willy hears ya. Willy don't care.). I've got a theory: smart people will read this post. Really smart people will get through my blog without having to.