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.: August 2006 --> Continued fractions

Continued fractions

» You know, I sort of gave up on math when they introduced imaginary numbers. In general, I found math to be rather boring. The only thing it had going for it was that it was strictly rational, which I understood some people found comforting. It wasn't enough to keep me interested, but at least you could count on it. Until i. They'd broken their own contract. I was done.

I can't say what would have happened I'd had a glimpse of continued fractions. All of which is a long way of saying MATH NERD! Not that there's anything wrong with that....

 [ 08.04.06 ]



I am appalled at the way mathematics are taught in the US. The teaching style is guaranteed to turn off most of us.

In my view, math is a language for describing patterns and relationships in the world around us. It is taught, however, as an abstraction. That is like teaching poetry by emphasizing only meter, and excluding the underlying poems; or teaching music by discussing rhythm and volume without ever considering melody.

Thanks for the post!

It's a crime the way math is taught. I've found two excellent sources on gaining intuitive insight into this stuff. One is "Where Mathematics Comes From" by Lakoff/Nunez. The other is the chapter on algebra in "Lectures on Physics" by Richard Feynman (in the first "Red book").

I was also confused by i and the complex plane until understanding its relationship to rotation and application to rotating "things". The rotation also ties it to trig (note how sine curves are generated from rotation also). Whenever I see references to "i" now, my brain looks for something spinning...

I agree with you both, and I've come to see math as a highly creative activity. One thing I loved about the movie "Proof" was its portrayal of that aspect of higher mathematics. If I were a high school math teacher, I'd show it every year in class to try and convey just how exciting math is to mathematicians (just as all journalism teachers show "All the President's Men" every year, or used to).



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