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June 18th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #1
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Introduction

Hi. I guess it's time to introduce myself even though I've been a year or so.

As my egotistical screen name implies, I am in a graduate math program at MSU in NJ. It's a pretty small program, although they are making fast efforts to improve it. What my screen name doesn't tell you is just how inexperienced (and bad) at math I am.

I do not have a math background. I was a computer programmer for 20 years. I lost my job during the dot-bomb era, had some family and personal issues and did not want to go back to programming (and my skills were very outdated). Eventually, I convinced my local graduate math program to let me in by doing well in Calculus I, II, and III classes. I even scored a graduate assistance position (whew!). In short I am a graduate math student who has very little math background. So I try to learn advanced math topics at the same time as learning the basics. I often learn the basics by asking professors stupid questions that any undergrad sophomore would know. Many of my teachers who don't know my background think I'm the dumbest grad math student ever. They might be right, but not for the reasons they think.

So now you know the reason for all of my stupid questions in the advanced topics forums.

Thanks all for your answers. This site has been - and will be - very valuable to me. One day, if I have a free minute or two, maybe I can return the favor to those who have even less experience than me (if they actually exist).

P.S. Is it possible to change screen name's on this site? Mine is just way too arrogant sounding. I need a name something like MathChallenged, or NotAbleToCount.
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June 18th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #2
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Re: Introduction

Heh. Stupid questions are always helpful. I've also noticed very good responses from you, so while I'm surprised you're a grad student, I'm also surprised that you have very little background.

Uh, welcome? I guess.
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June 18th, 2010, 10:17 PM   #3
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Re: Introduction

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSUMathGuy
P.S. Is it possible to change screen name's on this site? Mine is just way too arrogant sounding. I need a name something like MathChallenged, or NotAbleToCount.
I don't have that kind of power. For that, you must seek the Wizard of... I mean julien. I'm not sure if he can do that either, but there's a chance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSUMathGuy
I do not have a math background. I was a computer programmer for 20 years. I lost my job during the dot-bomb era, had some family and personal issues and did not want to go back to programming (and my skills were very outdated). Eventually, I convinced my local graduate math program to let me in by doing well in Calculus I, II, and III classes.
I'm just the opposite -- studied math in college then left school for a programming career. Probably easier to do it my way than yours, though. (I've been programming since I was a child, so that wasn't hard for me to pick up as a job skill.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSUMathGuy
Thanks all for your answers. This site has been - and will be - very valuable to me. One day, if I have a free minute or two, maybe I can return the favor to those who have even less experience than me (if they actually exist).
We'll keep trying if you will.
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June 22nd, 2010, 12:47 AM   #4
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Re: Introduction

I've been stumbling through (some) mathematics for a few years now. There are certainly some talented members here. Welcome MSUMathGuy.
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June 23rd, 2010, 08:44 PM   #5
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Re: Introduction

Quote:
Originally Posted by cknapp
Heh. Stupid questions are always helpful. I've also noticed very good responses from you, so while I'm surprised you're a grad student, I'm also surprised that you have very little background.

Uh, welcome? I guess.
I agree. Sometimes I learn more from my stupid questions than from my good questions. Of course, that could be because I can remember or understand the answer to the stupid questions.
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December 24th, 2010, 11:21 AM   #6
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Re: Introduction

Merry Christmas everyone:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSUMathGuy
P.S. Is it possible to change screen name's on this site? Mine is just way too arrogant sounding. I need a name something like MathChallenged, or NotAbleToCount.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse
I don't have that kind of power. For that, you must seek the Wizard of... I mean julien. I'm not sure if he can do that either, but there's a chance.
Another successful semester in the books. Whew! And I've decided a better username should be "Singularity", since I seem to be one of a kind: simultaneously both good and bad at math. Who do I see again to try to change it? (Edit: Nevermind, I PM'd julien.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse
I'm just the opposite -- studied math in college then left school for a programming career. Probably easier to do it my way than yours, though. (I've been programming since I was a child, so that wasn't hard for me to pick up as a job skill.)
What kind of programming do you do? Is there a market for something like "scientific programmer"? My thesis is going to involve doing a "math experiment" in 2 dimensions. It seems if there is a nexus of programming and math, that's where I need to look for work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSUMathGuy
Thanks all for your answers. This site has been - and will be - very valuable to me. One day, if I have a free minute or two, maybe I can return the favor to those who have even less experience than me (if they actually exist).
We'll keep trying if you will.
And thanks everyone for the help this semester.
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December 24th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #7
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Re: Introduction

I am about to enter a graduate math program myself. How very... terrifying it seems.
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December 24th, 2010, 12:00 PM   #8
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Re: Introduction

Quote:
Originally Posted by DLowry
I am about to enter a graduate math program myself. How very... terrifying it seems.
Good luck. But don't be terrified. My panic cost me an important test score last semester on a test I should have done well on.

There are different types of programs. Some are pure math and some are applied math. Which type are you entering? If you have a math background, it should not be too difficult (nor too easy).
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December 24th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #9
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Re: Introduction

Pure math all the way. I've been studying math for years as it is, and I fell quite comfortable from within my ivory tower. What do you study?
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December 25th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #10
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Re: Introduction

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSUMathGuy
What kind of programming do you do? Is there a market for something like "scientific programmer"? My thesis is going to involve doing a "math experiment" in 2 dimensions. It seems if there is a nexus of programming and math, that's where I need to look for work.
Nothing exciting, just basic database and website stuff. Good luck finding that nexus.
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