By Tai-Danae Bradley
A while ago at my blog Math3ma, I wrote a post in response to a great Slate article reminding us that math – like writing – isn’t something that anyone is good at without (at least a little!) effort. As the article’s author put it, “no one is born knowing the axiom of completeness.” Since then, I’ve come across a few other snippets of mathematical candor that I found both helpful and encouraging. And since final/qualifying exam season is right around the corner, I thought it’d be great to share them here for a little morale-boosting.
The first comes from a fantastic post written by University of Illinois at Chicago’s recent PhD Jeremy Kun (also blogger at the excellent Math ∩ Programming) in which he answers the question What is it ‘really’ like for a mathematician to learn math? In short, his answer is contained in the post’s title: “Mathematicians are chronically lost and confused (and that’s how it’s supposed to be).”
Of course, he means this in a good way and elaborates by sharing this colorful metaphor of mathematical research by Andrew Wiles: Continue reading “Hey There, Grad Student, You’re in Good Company — Part 1” »