Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Matrix

Ok, maybe it is the inverse matrix. That's what I am working on in Math class. I have no clue how they pertain to real life applications really, but somehow they do and I have to learn about them.

Also I don't like how my math text handles things. I start out the section and it does crazy stuff. It shows the inverse matrix of a matrix and I'm wondering how that happened, how they got it to work. It detracts from what they're trying to say, detracts from the example that it shows because I wondering how they got the inverse matrix in the first place.

And then it shows an extremely hard way that is used to get the inverse matrix. And then a page later the book goes "ha ha, that way is way too long and complicated. Here is a simpler way to do it." Why can't it just show the simple way to get the problem done? I'm not majoring or minoring in math, so I don't care about the proof, of how it works. Obviously it works or I would not be taught it. Heck I'm not even sure why it is important enough to learn, but yet I learn it.

So why teach me the proofs? Yeah it is a good thing to know that yes it can be proven that it works, but beyond this chapter, or even this class, I'm not going to need how to prove how it works. It doesn't matter.

Unless someone can answer me how my life will be benefited by knowing how to prove it works. And no, answers resulting in time travel to introduce it (while cool) or colonizing another planet and needing it somehow will not be accepted.

Maybe I'll ask the 100 Hour Board. Well, look in the archives first and then ask. I bet Laser Jock could answer why it is good to know the proofs of stuff like that.

Because in my point of view, though learning the hard way first and then the easy way can be a good type of history lesson to prove how Newton and others had it hard, I don't think it has much application in our individual lives to know how to prove how some higher functions of math work.

Of course. I could be wrong.

Fred! You read this blog, right? What's your opinion on this? (Considering you're going into electrical engineering and need lots of math and what not.)


Fredjikrang said...

Mechanical engineering.

My opinion on it is that, while proofs suck most of the time for those not interested in mathematical theory, it is helpful from a memory standpoint. While most of the time you can just remember a technique to find something, like an inverse matrix, it is easier for many people to remember a reason why it is that way.

In addition to that, it makes you actually learn how to do math, not just follow steps to a solution. It is about creativity and learning how math actually works. Learning how to solve problems.

And on top of all that, math classes have students from a wide variety of majors, especially calculus and linear algebra, and so the class has to be tailored to a wide audience that includes math majors, engineers, teachers, chemists, and so on. So while a good portion of the class probably doesn't technically "need" to know how to do mathematical proofs, or know exactly why something works the way it does, some do, and so it is included in the class.

Sam, The Nanti-SARRMM said...

Ok. I concede the point. I bow down to your knowledge and wisdom Fred.