my life is a lie(Original post by rainbow_kisses)
What is called "pure" maths at Alevel, isn't pure maths
What is the point in pure maths?
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 81
 23022012 07:05

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 82
 23022012 07:13
(Original post by Phil1541)
Pure Maths is generally university topics such as Analysis and Group/Number Theory.
These topics are mainly based off proofs and generally are more rigorous than there applied counterparts. (Most applied Maths has theorems based off and proven rigorously from Pure Maths)
Applied Maths is generally seen as Calculus, Statistics, Mechanics, etc...(All of A level Maths generally falls in here). (Not to sure where Linear Algebra falls in this one as it can be a bit of both depending on how it's taught)
A level Maths contains little/no actual Pure Maths in it apart from maybe Proof by Induction in FP1 which begins to follow the logical thought which is used in topics like Analysis.
The A level course really should cover more Analysis based material as A level Maths barely scratches the surface on what studying Maths is truly about. 
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 83
 23022012 07:19
Pure maths includes; circle theorum, alegbra, sequences, calculus,polynomials, logarithms and much more . . . when I did AS maths, we spent a week or two with a local engineering company try to do some of their maths

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 84
 23022012 07:25
(Original post by kerily)
Finding the dot product of two vectors isn't pure maths
As for the OP, if pure maths is no longer allowed to be classed as such when it starts being useful, obviously no pure maths will be 'useful' by your definition. 
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 85
 23022012 08:30
(Original post by When you see it...)
No, I'm asking what the point of it is. It seems selfish (that probably isn't the right word though) to study something just because you enjoy it.
I am well aware that eventually much pure maths has applications, but can't we just 'come up' with that mathematics when the realworld problem arises?
I only know about, like differentiation and integration but I think that makes more sense in an applied context (where the variables actually mean something i.e. displacement, velocity, acceleration, rate of change of acceleration with respect to time) than in a core context.
My point is, it didn't need to be discovered until people realised the realworld problems.
A lot of maths was learnt in a realworld context was it not? 'Pure' maths came after 'science' or 'physics' or 'applied maths' whatever you want to call it. I know this doesn't mean much, but still... 
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 86
 23022012 14:58
(Original post by Phil1541)
The A level course really should cover more Analysis based material as A level Maths barely scratches the surface on what studying Maths is truly about.
I think it's probably best to trick people into the subject first with some easy ideas about integrals and then slap them in the face with analysis only after they have paid their first year of University fees. 
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 87
 23022012 15:14
(Original post by Spungo)
I'm fairly sure if analysis was part of the A level maths syllabus I would've been scarred for life and done something else instead.
I think it's probably best to trick people into the subject first with some easy ideas about integrals and then slap them in the face with analysis only after they have paid their first year of University fees.Last edited by Jodin; 23022012 at 15:16. 
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 23022012 15:26
(Original post by Jodin)
Off topic but I think people would much prefer it, people want to be challenged. Maths is only interesting when it's hard.
Admittedly it's interesting sometimes, but at A level? It would be a complete disaster. 
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 23022012 15:32
It is an intellectual workout. It challenges the brain. Not everything has to be practical.
However, you are nevertheless wrong about pure maths not having any practical application  to even begin to understand the elements of practical maths requires rigorous knowledge and performance in pure mathematics. 
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 90
 23022012 15:34
(Original post by Spungo)
I'm fairly sure if analysis was part of the A level maths syllabus I would've been scarred for life and done something else instead.
I think it's probably best to trick people into the subject first with some easy ideas about integrals and then slap them in the face with analysis only after they have paid their first year of University fees. 
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 91
 23022012 15:34
(Original post by Jodin)
Off topic but I think most people would much prefer it, people want to be challenged. Maths is only interesting when it's hard.
In my opinion, a better approach would be to incorporate more STEP like questions into the A level maths syllabus. That way, it'd encourage thinking outside the box rather than rote learning and there would be no need for an A* grade.Post rating:2 
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 92
 23022012 16:04
(Original post by Humberto)
While I agree with many sentiments from your post, this one is a bit dubious. We shouldn't forget Gödel's lesson that every set of proofs always has to have some axioma's that cannot be proven, but are rather assumed. Of course, they are often very plausible and agreeable, but it's an illusion to consider it some form of "pure truth" that is completely without assumption. Of course it's silly to suggest that proofs as such are 'silly' though.
Perhaps I should clarify, Godel's (first) incompleteness theorem states for any consistent axiomatic system there are "simple" arithmetical statements about integers that can be neither proved nor disposed of, using only the axioms of that system.
The second incompleteness theorem states that for any "reasonably powerful" axiomatic systems A and B, the following is impossible: A proves the consistency of B and B proves the consistency of A. So there you have it.
Perhaps this has something useful to say about "mathematical truth", whatever that is. Although I can't see exactly what that would be that you couldn't say anyway without Godel's theorems. Most "ordinary" mathematical theorems don't have anything to do with any kind of Godelian phenomena.
Godel's theorems lead to a slew of developements in computer science. That, apart from mathematical logic, is where they made the biggest bang, when all is said and done. Sometimes in pure maths the nonalgorithmicity of deciding whether a certain type of mathematical object has a certain property, is used to deduce that there exists at least one object of that sort which has that property (otherwise there would be an algorithm: one that just says "NO").Last edited by Raiden10; 23022012 at 16:06. 
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 23022012 16:31
Does number theory have any applications? Apparently Paul Erdos, who studied number theory, said that he is proud that number theory has no applications. Has any of his research into number theory become useful yet?

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 23022012 16:41
(Original post by Raiden10)
Perhaps you are referring to Godel's incompleteness theorem? It sounds a bit like someone described it to you over the phone.
Perhaps I should clarify, Godel's (first) incompleteness theorem states for any consistent axiomatic system there are "simple" arithmetical statements about integers that can be neither proved nor disposed of, using only the axioms of that system.
The second incompleteness theorem states that for any "reasonably powerful" axiomatic systems A and B, the following is impossible: A proves the consistency of B and B proves the consistency of A. So there you have it.
Perhaps this has something useful to say about "mathematical truth", whatever that is. Although I can't see exactly what that would be that you couldn't say anyway without Godel's theorems. Most "ordinary" mathematical theorems don't have anything to do with any kind of Godelian phenomena.
Godel's theorems lead to a slew of developements in computer science. That, apart from mathematical logic, is where they made the biggest bang, when all is said and done. Sometimes in pure maths the nonalgorithmicity of deciding whether a certain type of mathematical object has a certain property, is used to deduce that there exists at least one object of that sort which has that property (otherwise there would be an algorithm: one that just says "NO"). 
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 95
 23022012 17:26
(Original post by oh_1993)
Does number theory have any applications? Apparently Paul Erdos, who studied number theory, said that he is proud that number theory has no applications. Has any of his research into number theory become useful yet? 
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 23022012 18:13
(Original post by Apeiron)
Don't know about Erdos specifically, but number theory finds application in online security where encryption/decryption algorithms usually depend on aspects of primality and factorisation. 
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 23022012 18:21
(Original post by rowzee)
I would just like to point out that number theory is itself a huge branch of maths with several subfields and the applications (that have been stated so far) form a very small fraction of all the knowledge in this branch (mostly drawn from elementary number theory). I am starting to feel a kind of a confirmation bias when people start talking about applications of number theory in this way. 
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 98
 23022012 18:28
(Original post by rowzee)
I would just like to point out that number theory is itself a huge branch of maths with several subfields and the applications (that have been stated so far) form a very small fraction of all the knowledge in this branch (mostly drawn from elementary number theory). I am starting to feel a kind of a confirmation bias when people start talking about applications of number theory in this way. 
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 99
 23022012 18:29
(Original post by Humberto)
Thank you for added clarification. I am by no means a mathematician and I shall not pretend to know the exact details. Although it isn't the case that "someone only described it to me on the phone" , it is true that my understanding lacks mathematic foundation. Even so, I guess it got the point accross 
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 100
 23022012 18:29
(Original post by Phil1541)
Pure Maths is generally university topics such as Analysis and Group/Number Theory.
These topics are mainly based off proofs and generally are more rigorous than there applied counterparts. (Most applied Maths has theorems based off and proven rigorously from Pure Maths)
Applied Maths is generally seen as Calculus, Statistics, Mechanics, etc...(All of A level Maths generally falls in here). (Not to sure where Linear Algebra falls in this one as it can be a bit of both depending on how it's taught)
A level Maths contains little/no actual Pure Maths in it apart from maybe Proof by Induction in FP1 which begins to follow the logical thought which is used in topics like Analysis.
The A level course really should cover more Analysis based material as A level Maths barely scratches the surface on what studying Maths is truly about.
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Updated: March 11, 2012
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