## Mathematicians Are Chronically Lost and Confused 114

Posted
by
Soulskill

from the dude-where's-my-cartesian-plot dept.

from the dude-where's-my-cartesian-plot dept.

An anonymous reader writes

*"Mathematics Ph.D. student Jeremy Kun has an interesting post about how mathematicians approach doing new work and pushing back the boundaries of human knowledge. He says it's immensely important for mathematicians to be comfortable with extended periods of ignorance when working on a new topic. 'The truth is that mathematicians are chronically lost and confused. It's our natural state of being, and I mean that in a good way. ... This is something that has been bred into me after years of studying mathematics. I know how to say, “Well, I understand nothing about anything,” and then constructively answer the question, “What’s next?” Sometimes the answer is to pinpoint one very basic question I don’t understand and try to tackle that first.' He then provides some advice for people learning college level math like calculus or linear algebra: 'I suggest you don't worry too much about verifying every claim and doing every exercise. If it takes you more than 5 or 10 minutes to verify a "trivial" claim in the text, then you can accept it and move on. ... But more often than not you'll find that by the time you revisit a problem you've literally grown so much (mathematically) that it's trivial. What's much more useful is recording what the deep insights are, and storing them for recollection later.'"*
## That settles it (Score:5, Funny)

## An old mathematicians' joke (Score:5, Funny)

There are two types of theorems: trivial and unproven.

## Re:"Trivial" (Score:4, Funny)

I suppose you can reduce arithmetic and geometry (both quadrivia) to logic (trivia), but the liberal arts are seven in number for a very good numerological reason.

## Re:An old mathematicians' joke (Score:2, Funny)

There are two types of theorems: trivial and unproven.

Actually, there are 3. Proof left for the reader.

## Re:Failing as a math teacher (Score:4, Funny)

Wow. He must write a lot of computer documentation.