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## Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My advice about studying mathematics is to go deep, to slowly let it sink in and revise, revise and revise. I.e. imagine a student who just reached the mandatory 360 (540) points: if he would not pass a subset of all his previous exams -today- wouldn't the degree be a joke? Anyway, I am all for a final exam covering a subset of all previous exams. - Yet, I don't think students will like the idea. But why not? Once the math is 'in' you would only have to maintain it during the lifetime of the course.

 Hardy (l), Littlewood (r)
 Ingham

An advice given by Littlewood to Ingham ( both were giants in Number Theory while Littlewood, together with Hardy of course, got Ramanujan to Cambridge ) is the following:

Albert Ingham was educated at Stafford Grammar School, and from there he won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, in December 1917. After spending a few months in the army towards the end of World War I, he began his studies in January 1919. An outstanding undergraduate career saw him awarded distinction in the Mathematical Tripos and win a Smith's prize and the highest honours. In 1922 he was elected to a fellowship at Trinity for a dissertation on the zeta function and his next four years were occupied only with research, a few months of which were spent at Göttingen. During this time Ingham was greatly influenced by Littlewood who gave him the advice to:-

... work at a hard problem: you may not solve it but you'll solve another one.

An advice I have taken long ago. When you generally work on harder problems than those presented to you in TMA's and/or exams, your TMA questions tend to become trivial. This is one possible method to score high marks for your TMA's. Other known proven recipe's which I do not advise are:
- target a student in the forums and offer him help ( not knowing he is going to do all the helping himself );
- post portions of your questions in Dr Math type of forums, mathematicians are very helpful;

If you have a blog ( in mathematics, or any other field ) and people start acting friendly then they are working towards asking you
- to 'exchange' some OU course books;
- to 'compare' answers on a TMA.
Make sure you always say NO, you don't owe them anything. Friendly visitors come in many disguises.

#### 1 comment:

1. Re your last paragraph anyone in particular you have in mind ?

Chris

## Welcome to The Bridge

Mathematics: is it the fabric of MEST?
This is my voyage
My continuous mission
To uncover hidden structures
To create new theorems and proofs
To boldly go where no man has gone before

(Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion, colloquially aka Raumpatrouille Orion was the first German science fiction television series. Its seven episodes were broadcast by ARD beginning September 17, 1966. The series has since acquired cult status in Germany. Broadcast six years before Star Trek first aired in West Germany (in 1972), it became a huge success.)