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September 23rd, 2009, 04:29 PM  #1 
Newbie Joined: Sep 2009 Posts: 2 Thanks: 0  Engineer here! (Well, Kinda)
Hello, My name's Patrick and I'm new on this forum! (Obviously or I wouldn't be writing this, haha.) I'm in the Electrical Engineering degree plan at UTTyler and I'm very interested in mathematics. Also, I'll always have a few questions, especially about probability. A side note, I'll be taking the Putnam exam in December for kicks and giggles! So I'll hopefully be on here a lot. I want to try and help with the high school mathematics forums on this site, not just get help. That is if ya'll offer it, I'm not so sure. So before I let you go I must be brash and ask about the correctness of a problem I created for a lab report that I'm writing. In a Boolean sense, using DeMorgan's theorems is the following true? (XY+Z)' =(XY)'Z'=(X'+Y')Z' Where ' denotes BAR or Inverse. Thanks ya'll I hope to be on here a lot! 
September 23rd, 2009, 04:39 PM  #2  
Global Moderator Joined: Nov 2006 From: UTC 5 Posts: 16,046 Thanks: 938 Math Focus: Number theory, computational mathematics, combinatorics, FOM, symbolic logic, TCS, algorithms  Re: Engineer here! (Well, Kinda) Quote:
 
September 23rd, 2009, 04:47 PM  #3 
Newbie Joined: Sep 2009 Posts: 2 Thanks: 0  Re: Engineer here! (Well, Kinda)
Thanks for the quick response! Another question just came to mind though. While I'm working on homework or anything else involving math for that matter, I feel like I'm sitting on the doorway to something much grander than what I'm actually doing. I don't have any problem with mathematics, but the larger sense seems to escape me. What I mean is that I can sense an underlining connection between everything I do. So my question is, how can I step up to the next level? What can I read or what can I do to go past the basic, "I'm solving problems for homework" mindset? Odd question, but I'm not very good at wording things. xD 
September 23rd, 2009, 08:55 PM  #4 
Global Moderator Joined: Nov 2006 From: UTC 5 Posts: 16,046 Thanks: 938 Math Focus: Number theory, computational mathematics, combinatorics, FOM, symbolic logic, TCS, algorithms  Re: Engineer here! (Well, Kinda)
I know just what you mean, but I don't know of any good answer. You feel like you're on the threshold because you are: you're just getting to the really exciting stages of math. But you're only going to get better by jumping in and doing stuff! Competitions are a good start. Unfortunately the Putnum is rather difficult; I hope it doesn't discourage. The median score is 0... not an easy test. Certainly if you get a positive score that means you're doing very well! (Especially as you're an EE student.) Stop over to our competitions forum and see if any of the problems there are solvable. (Many are quite hard; some are easier, I think.) Maybe that's a place to start? 
September 24th, 2009, 09:49 AM  #5  
Senior Member Joined: Oct 2007 From: Chicago Posts: 1,701 Thanks: 3  Re: Engineer here! (Well, Kinda) Quote:
Well, basically, there are two parts of math: problemsolving, and theorybuilding. Both are important, but I've always found the theorybuilding more appealing the way everything fits together to make a universe is absolutely aweinspiring. Anyway; I would recommend trying to take as many math classes as you have room for I would especially recommend an algebra course and an analysis course, since those are really the gateway to higher math. If you find problemsolving to be more what you are looking for, number theory/combinatorics are definitely worth it and there's also a lot of theorybuilding happening there, as well (and certainly there's problemsolving in algebra and analysis)  
September 24th, 2009, 10:26 AM  #6 
Global Moderator Joined: Nov 2006 From: UTC 5 Posts: 16,046 Thanks: 938 Math Focus: Number theory, computational mathematics, combinatorics, FOM, symbolic logic, TCS, algorithms  Re: Engineer here! (Well, Kinda)
I took only about one competition a year. 9: AHSME 10: AHSME 11: AHSME, OCTM competition 12: AHSME 13: Putnam 14: none? 15: local conference team competition 16: MathFest competition I just think they're a fun, noncommittal way to do/learn math. Taking a course will of course give you more information, but 3 (+ 36) hours a week for half a year is a bigger commitment than a onetime twohour competition. 
September 24th, 2009, 11:46 AM  #7 
Newbie Joined: Sep 2009 Posts: 27 Thanks: 1  Re: Engineer here! (Well, Kinda)
Hey Patrick, I'm new here too and am doing Mech Eng at the University of Malta I kinda know how you feel but haven't really though about doing anything about it.. except wait two more years till I'm out and can finally do something useful with my life But good point you brought up.. maybe there's something useful I could be doing with my life now hhmmmm...... 
September 25th, 2009, 06:15 AM  #8 
Member Joined: Jul 2009 From: New Jersey Posts: 65 Thanks: 0  Re: Engineer here! (Well, Kinda)
Is there a Putnam "team" at your school? My school has an "Underground Hardcore Problem Solving team" where we spend 2 hours every Thursday going over previous Putnam problems or other mindboggling exercises with free pizza and soda hehe. Basically, it's the coolest thing ever, and you should definitely check if your school has something similar. 

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