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Help with Math


LawLord
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I spend a great deal of time wondering about the Universe and have in the last year or so become particularly interested in Physics and Astronomy (especially general relativety).

 

I have a problem though. I don't understand math. This limits me very much in my study of Physics.

 

I've looked at plenty of "maths made easy" type texts but all it takes is for one thing to become clear and i'm pretty much lost. They generally do not have a clear application to real life either.

 

Anyone familiar with General relativity knows that it is based on the idea that time is relative to the individual. If I assume this is correct, then relativety makes perfect sense to me. Of course, I want to know how people figure that time is relative... or that it is possible to experience "time dilation" or was it dilution?

 

I have never come across any book or person who adequately explains it in simple, non mathematical terms.

 

Was wondering if someone could assist me in some basic math. I personally think I do very well with the Law, but Math?

 

I was in the bottom Math class at school and stopped taking it after 5th form (age 15).

 

I am probably not even going to understand what a math major would call "simple".

 

Checked out Wikipedia and it provided a sort of math symbol dictionary. It is nowhere near complete.

 

Perhaps people could post a couple of their favourite formulas and have a go at explaining them for me. People could help me work through them.

 

Thanks to anyone who is able to help.

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Dude listen up. No one is going to feed you. You must learn to learn!

Grab a 5th grade arithmetic book and do all the problems. Move your way up to 6th grade then 7th and keep on going up.

It will only take time! Think about it this way: the more time you put into studying the more you'll learn (its directly proportional :D).

 

Don't spend your time asking for other people to teach you, because it will only waste your time. So please go grab a high school math book from your library or wherever, turn off any electrons except the lights, and actually read and do the problems. Trust me it will help.

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First Wiki is generally very good for mathematics (better than physics) though no where complete. It is a very good starting place.

 

Other places to look at are MathWorld and Functions which are both run by Wolfram who make Mathematica.

 

As for elementary books I have no suggestions. Anything like "engineering mathematics" would be suitable for beginning undergraduate level physics. But none of these would help you with general relativity (done proper). For that you need something with "geometry and physics" in the title.

 

I suggest Nash and Sen and Nakahara. However, both are quite advanced and are aimed at beginning postgraduates in theoretical and mathematical physics.

 

A good all round book for an introduction to techniques in mathematical physics is Hassani.

 

Goggleing "online mathematics books" will give you lots of material to look at.

 

Good luck

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Go to a local community college for a remedial math course. This will start from a very basic level and move up to pre-algebra. Don't be afraid to ask questions in class. Aside from that, without having an instructor, you will find any type of auto-didactic methods frustrating.

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Everyone, don't be so mean

 

Lawlord: Whilst no one is going to spoon feed you per se, we will, as it happens, be happy to answer pretty much any specific questions that you have, explain any concepts that are new to you and get your head around any new ideas.

 

Remember to check regularly for updates on Ground Up Tutorials sections of this website which should be growing soon and seriously, whenever you have a question don't be afraid to ask, I have asked some damn stupid questions here before and it's not been a problem. (but maybe you should search to see if you question has already been asked).

 

There is more to the Internet than Wikipedia, the Wolfram sites are good references but you'll also find an awful lot just by Googling. Textbooks are pretty great to and I think* that research has shown people generally retain information better from a printed text than from a screen.

 

Do ask people to teach you and to explain things to you, a lot of the time it'll be helpful for them as well as you.

 

However, it's really really important to note that to get good at maths does require doing some maths, as the retired head of my maths department at school put it "you don't get fit by watching other people exercise".

 

Have fun, ask questions, work through some problems, look stuff up, don't let yourself get too distracted from your actual studies.

 

*as in, I don't have a source. Anyone help?

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