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Old 10-02-2014, 06:09 PM
 
1,882 posts, read 2,723,006 times
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Hey folks-
So I've been an artist pretty much my whole life, but a couple years ago took some electronics courses and was mesmerized, and have decided to become an electrical engineer. I am starting to get into the college level math that I will need to transfer, and tho I could grasp the math behind electronics very easily, for some reason algrebra has been a real problem.

I am lucky enough to have a FANTASTIC teacher this semester and we also have a great textbook which comes with an online lab, and I am really honing in on my own weaknesses and strengths and learning more than ever. I am often reminded of the phrase I read somewhere, "the purity of mathematics". When I know how to solve a problem its so restful. I really enjoy it- its almost like meditation.

But here is a strange problem I realize I have always had, and its so buried in my consciousness that I am only now realizing it.
When I do a problem sometimes I look at it and the number just....doesn't LOOK nice enough for me. Its so bizarre. Its like the number will be 11672, and that just doesn't seem APPETIZING to me. I love numbers like 48 and 1436 and 2460- I suppose, even numbers. When I am working out a problem and I come to a point where the solution so far just doesn't LOOK right to me, based on some weird esthetic dislike, I find myself doing the problem over and over again, getting more lost. Then I will realize I had it right the first time, and that "ugly" number was the right answer.
Weird, huh?

I know I have always had a real gift for spelling and punctuation- I can see a word, and just KNOW if its misspelled without really knowing why until I mime writing it out. My hand will just know how to spell it properly. Its kind of like adding on your fingers. I am finding that I am BLAZING through Spanish because of this method- I can sort of take a snapshot of a word and every time I see it afterwards its like the word is a painting and a color is out of place if there is a misspelling. Its very strange, but its how I have always been- and I had a college reading level in second grade. I am wondering if this method isn't bleeding over- or if there are math professors here who might have encountered the same thing. Its very puzzling.
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:44 PM
 
26,890 posts, read 38,133,169 times
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I see any misspelled words on a sheet of paper in bold typeface as soon as I look at it. Oddly, it doesn't work on a computer screen.

Since you have started enjoying math play with the number nine. Any number that is evenly divisible by nine will always have the product of 9 if you add the numbers together.

A simple example is 27. 2+7=9. 27 is evenly divisible by 9 with the product of 3. Told you it was going to be simple.

More complex: 8756289558. Add them together and you get 63. 6+3=9. If you divide that long number by nine the result will be a whole number, 972921062

This always holds true. I play with this and try to find similar patterns for other numbers to fall asleep

I multiply differently than a lot of other people . If I'm given something like 19x43 I multiply 20x43 and subtract 43 from the result. Or rather I subtract 40, then 3. A trick my mother taught me as a child allows me to do this with almost no conscious thought. The answer just appears in my head.

I don't, however see "wrong" or uncomfortable numbers like you do. That is an interesting ability, but I can see it being bothersome at times.
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:28 AM
 
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Wow! That's amazing! i recently read "50 Math Concepts You MUST Know" and I was fascinated by the fact that the numbers known as square numbers are called that because as single units, they stack evenly. And the "3"'s are triangular numbers. It sounds perhaps very simple, but it BLEW my mind. Take 3 objects and they form a triangle. Two form a rectangle. Four form a square. Two MORE form a rectangle, and so on. It really made so much clear to me, somehow. So I bet that 9 bit you mention would really work for me.

Yeah, it is a pain, but I find it more curious than anything. Now that I know that it happens and it isn't deep in my mind anymore, I find it more interesting. Awareness makes it less of a pain!
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Old 10-05-2014, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Westeros
90 posts, read 88,231 times
Reputation: 141
So....you apparently have a penchant for even numbers, which I am guessing is primarily die to the fact that you find them aesthetically more pleasing to your eye.

Which is fine. For an artist.

And it would even be OK for an engineer type, so long as his preference didn't hamper his ability to crunch the numbers and "do the math" that is an integral part of electrical engineering.

I don't know enough about you to really say for sure, but judging from what you've said in your post about both your past education and your current dilemma with unappealing digits, I would hazard to say that you are going to have a very tough road ahead in electrical engineering. The math is only going to get more complex, and once you get into Fourier Functions and the trigonometrical aspects of sine and cosine wave forms, your artist's sensibilities are going to be further assaulted.
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:33 AM
 
Location: SoCal
5,917 posts, read 9,053,237 times
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Yes, I'm guessing you prefer the even numbers because they appeal to your artistic side.

There is an "ugliness" of numbers for an engineer, but it isn't about art. It's about reasonableness, and not all engineers learn how to see it. It's a sort of logic game of looking at the size of your answer, comparing that to the size of the numbers that went into it, and realizing that either this answer is reasonable or else it's "ugly" - i.e. very likely to be wrong.

OP, your last paragraph suggests you have something of a photographic memory. I wish I had some of that - I'm trying to learn Spanish and that would make it so much easier! The recognizing words that are spelled wrong - I think that comes of reading many classically-written books. After you've seen the words formally spelled that many times, it sort of leaps out when you see them spelled wrong.
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Old 10-06-2014, 04:58 PM
 
1,882 posts, read 2,723,006 times
Reputation: 3871
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruffin_Ready View Post
So....you apparently have a penchant for even numbers, which I am guessing is primarily die to the fact that you find them aesthetically more pleasing to your eye.

Which is fine. For an artist.

And it would even be OK for an engineer type, so long as his preference didn't hamper his ability to crunch the numbers and "do the math" that is an integral part of electrical engineering.

I don't know enough about you to really say for sure, but judging from what you've said in your post about both your past education and your current dilemma with unappealing digits, I would hazard to say that you are going to have a very tough road ahead in electrical engineering. The math is only going to get more complex, and once you get into Fourier Functions and the trigonometrical aspects of sine and cosine wave forms, your artist's sensibilities are going to be further assaulted.
Never be a teacher. It may be harder for me, but I have taken surveying before years ago, and I came upon a sort of wall in my mind and my teacher told me, "all surveying students who have difficulty, do so here. This is the crunch. Get past this and you can get all of it." Whadya know, I vaulted over that wall and after that, I excelled. I just forgot it all since it has been about 15 years ago that I took those courses, and I wound up not getting into surveying because frankly working for the DOT sounded dull to me.

I have met extensively with my teachers and advisors and they all said, "go for it". I was suspected of having disnumeria- a sort of disability involving numbers- but once a went through a battery of tests the tester told me that the only reason she would say I had any kind of difficulty was because in every instance except one, I was off the charts. Only relative to the rest of my chart could I be said to be falling behind- in two segments she said she had never seen anyone score higher. Being that i have been in school for two years and have an almost perfect GPA, I don't intend to let any naysayers keep me back, thanks much. It inspires me frankly. So thanks for your inspiration.
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:03 PM
 
1,882 posts, read 2,723,006 times
Reputation: 3871
Quote:
Originally Posted by oddstray View Post
Yes, I'm guessing you prefer the even numbers because they appeal to your artistic side.

There is an "ugliness" of numbers for an engineer, but it isn't about art. It's about reasonableness, and not all engineers learn how to see it. It's a sort of logic game of looking at the size of your answer, comparing that to the size of the numbers that went into it, and realizing that either this answer is reasonable or else it's "ugly" - i.e. very likely to be wrong.

OP, your last paragraph suggests you have something of a photographic memory. I wish I had some of that - I'm trying to learn Spanish and that would make it so much easier! The recognizing words that are spelled wrong - I think that comes of reading many classically-written books. After you've seen the words formally spelled that many times, it sort of leaps out when you see them spelled wrong.
I am becoming increasingly fascinated with logic and have been reading "The Black Swan" by Taleb which has forever changed how I look at statistics- or pretty much anything frankly. There is this whole other romance to mathematics that I find really amazing. The way its taught is really so dry most of the time- but I have a fantastic teacher, as I mentioned, who shares his fascination with us. He spent an entire class period talking about nothing but zero for instance. When I am curious about something, that's it- I WILL learn it.

I don't know if I have a photographic memory but I have always read LOADS- I loved reading textbooks when I was a kid, still do, I read a couple books a day sometimes. I think you are right- that's probably where that comes from, you see it over and over again and you can tell its misspelled.

If it helps, and I find it did for me, write words out. Over and over and over again. I did that one weekend with the numbers, days of the week, months, and about 60 words and phrases in Spanish and I could not BELIEVE how much I retained. I shared that with my Spanish class and I have had several people approach me saying, "wow, you are so right!" My teacher even said that's how she studied when she was majoring in languages in school. It really puts it into your memory.
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:30 PM
 
723 posts, read 618,444 times
Reputation: 392
It is not puzzling,it is just a natural thing. To avoid more confusion, I won't extend this to the idea of inertia ( resistance to motion) in physics. I will just give you some advices.
You look like someone traveling to a foreign country and still trying to like things based on what he/she had already liked before traveling to that country.

You've got to get over it and be flexible in your mind. Say, to yourself " well this is another world, another culture, in Rome I have got to act like Romans ".

Be curious about learning new things and accept the logic of those new things, even some of those that do not make sense to you at that time. When you have enough background then you can make connections between concepts and rise to a higher order thinking level, at that time clouds will start clearing off the skies.

This is one reason why in Geometry people start to set the rules for the game by agreeing on Postulates(statements that are accepted as true without being proven true). If you do not agree on the postulates , you won't be able to roll easily.

As far as Algebra is concerned, if you do not like numbers, you might feel comfortable later with abstract algebra ( Group and field theory) or Calculus when you get to that level.
You will need calculus and some courses in electricity and magnetism.
In Algebra for instance, complex numbers might not make sense to you right away, but when you reach Electromagnetism in Physics where differential equations of at least degree two (2) can easily be easily dealt with like a piece of cake by using complex numbers rather than real numbers, you'll say " Thank God, people found complex numbers".
So take it easy and be patient.
P.S
In fact mathematics is a culture in itself , that's why I do personally kind of dislike folks who thing math must be fun.
Math can be frustrating. For instance It is not funny when people in math labs spend months finding out what the analytical model of a signal is.
This is a world where there is no king and no queen, you've got to scratch your head to get it.
Math is not fun when you do not get fun from learning math. I mean in mathematics fun comes from having the desire to conquer.The joy of the victor is completed when you conquer new territories such as proving theorems, finding connections between concepts deriving a new theory from another etc. This can take time.

Been there, done it, felt dumb then survived,sort of !

Last edited by ThePage; 02-17-2015 at 09:44 PM..
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:04 PM
 
Location: Someplace Wonderful
5,170 posts, read 3,726,329 times
Reputation: 2546
There are numbers everywhere, from engineering to Wall Street, to banking, to paying your bills. When I pay bills. I often get distracted by the numbers I see and play with. If anyone state as a fact something numerical, the first thing I do is try to crunch the numbers in my head. In doing so, I often find the numbers are mis-stated. One of the things I love about baseball is that it is all about the numbers. Who is the greatest hitter of all time? The answer is to be found in the numbers.

Love the numbers and let them take you where they will. But dont let them determine how you live or make a living!
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:18 AM
 
723 posts, read 618,444 times
Reputation: 392
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePage View Post
It is not puzzling,it is just a natural thing. To avoid more confusion, I won't extend this to the idea of inertia ( resistance to motion) in physics. I will just give you some advices.
You look like someone traveling to a foreign country and still trying to like things based on what he/she had already liked before traveling to that country.

You've got to get over it and be flexible in your mind. Say, to yourself " well this is another world, another culture, in Rome I have got to act like Romans ".

Be curious about learning new things and accept the logic of those new things, even some of those that do not make sense to you at that time. When you have enough background then you can make connections between concepts and rise to a higher order thinking level, at that time clouds will start clearing off the skies.

This is one reason why in Geometry people start to set the rules for the game by agreeing on Postulates(statements that are accepted as true without being proven true). If you do not agree on the postulates , you won't be able to roll easily.

As far as Algebra is concerned, if you do not like numbers, you might feel comfortable later with abstract algebra ( Group and field theory) or Calculus when you get to that level.
You will need calculus and some courses in electricity and magnetism.
In Algebra for instance, complex numbers might not make sense to you right away, but when you reach Electromagnetism in Physics where differential equations of at least degree two (2) can easily be easily dealt with like a piece of cake by using complex numbers rather than real numbers, you'll say " Thank God, people found complex numbers".
So take it easy and be patient.
P.S
In fact mathematics is a culture in itself , that's why I do personally kind of dislike folks who thing math must be fun.
Math can be frustrating. For instance It is not funny when people in math labs spend months finding out what the analytical model of a signal is.
This is a world where there is no king and no queen, you've got to scratch your head to get it.
Math is not fun when you do not get fun from learning math. I mean in mathematics fun comes from having the desire to conquer.The joy of the victor is completed when you conquer new territories such as proving theorems, finding connections between concepts deriving a new theory from another etc. This can take time.

Been there, done it, felt dumb then survived,sort of !
Read "people who think "
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