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Author: Subject: Learning mathematics from a book?
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[*] posted on 21-7-2006 at 23:26
Learning mathematics from a book?


hi,

I need to buy a gift, and I came up with the idea to buy a good mathematics book.
The problem is that I don't know what one would be good....something that gradually increase difficult (no need to buy an excercises book, though), obviously step by step with argument's difficult increase.
Even an ebook would do, I'll just need to print it.

Consider the gift's receiver is a teenage 16 years old.
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[*] posted on 22-7-2006 at 06:25


Does this person actively want to learn math? If not, fund a real class, there's no point in sending him/her a book that won't be read and understood. Even so, there may be no incentive to do problems.

Even I tend to skim right over equations. Reading math goes a lot slower than reading English.

Tim




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[*] posted on 22-7-2006 at 12:44


yes, he really like mathematic, otherwise I would not have tought that gift...it's an uncommon thing, specially for a teenager, but he's always asking about math and related.
I think he have got nice potential to understand, now or then.
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[*] posted on 22-7-2006 at 13:22


I would give him a book on modern math ....when I took that course I felt it should have been taught prior to calculus and Differentil Equations as the theory of numbers and sets and existence, makes sense early on the rest follows as different types of applications of this very concepts....................solo

[Edited on 22-7-2006 by solo]




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[*] posted on 22-7-2006 at 14:03


There are descriptive books about mathematics that can be read quickly just for fun. But if you want to learn math I feel you must practice, practice, practice. Unless, of course, this person has an intellect like Nicola Tesla. If he did he would already have the books, or not even need them. :P



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[*] posted on 22-7-2006 at 15:38


Which mathematics? The last people to know all of the mathematics of their day are generally thought to be Gauss and Cayley, although in fairness Gauss probably knew the next 50 years' worth as well, and just didn't bother to tell anyone. Bear in mind the oft repeated fact that you can't know enough linear algebra.

I read that Mathematics for the Million has had a new printing. My father gave me an ancient copy and it is an interesting book, very readable and somewhat quirky. There are a number of books that are meant to introduce a sampling of interesting math at an elementary level (by elementary here I mean basic high school stuff; beware that mathematicians give the word a range of meanings: one article I read defined elementary as "results whose proof is known to the author"!) Consider, as an example, The Nature and Power of Mathematics by Donald M. Davis, which should still be in print. I also have Elementary Topics in Number Theory, Algebra and Probability by Charles Godino. This text is much drier than the Davis book and may be out of print. Don't expect to learn any general mathematical skills from them but some of the collections of Ian Stewart's articles have fun stuff in them, for example Another Fine Math You've Got Me Into. I believe the original language for these is French, so French language editions should be available.

If you do get a textbook, make sure to provide pleny of exercises and examples. One option is to provide a separate collection of exercises to supplement the primary text. For example at the moment I'm working through the module section of Algebra Through Practice since none of the books I have are very strong on module theory. Consider getting just a collection of elementary logic puzzles, your friend won't learn any formal math, but the skills will cary over. Dover publishes several books of this type.


OT: Has anyone used Spavin's differential geomety book (volume 1)? The impression I get is that it is rather good but requires a good bit of discipline for self study since the exercises are not exhaustive.
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