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Topic: Slightly OT : I hate math
Replies: 18   Last Post: Feb 6, 2010 11:52 PM

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Posts: 381
Registered: 3/31/05
Re: Slightly OT : I hate math
Posted: Feb 4, 2010 6:18 PM
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Ken Pledger wrote:
> As for the social situations, I doubt if it's possible to give a
> serious answer in a short time. My standard ploy is to grin and say,
> "Well, if everyone was good at it then I'd be out of a job." That's not
> true, of course, but it rescues people from feeling threatened (or
> disliking me).

Hmm.. What do you people think, are people threatened when you say to
them that you are a researcher or a mathematician?

I am a relatively new doctoral student and I personally could never have
imagined that to be the case. To me being a student reflects my interest
over things, not some educational merit. However, I sometimes wonder how
people actually feel about that.

For example, when I started a grant on my doctoral studies last year, a
group of my friends started calling me a "doctor" everytime they
addressed me on freetime. I didn't find it funny at all, but I handled
it for some time as a bad joke. This continued for some time and didn't
look like it was going to stop, despite the discreet hints I gave that I
disliked it. Well, one day I finally got enough and told them to quit
doing that for real. They did. But I still wonder the actual motivation
to do that: you don't tell a bad joke multiple times, especially if the
target doesn't find it funny. Could their motivation been that they felt
threatened? Maybe..

I have another kind of story as well, maybe a bit funnier:) In a bar I
told a newly met girl that it was interesting to me she being a
paramedic. She answered, jokingly, "I wish I could say the same about
mathematics.". Well, that's pretty much what others in this thread
confirm, right:)

(Also, since she insisted me to describe my research topic, I told her
how the succession from natural numbers to integers to reals to complex
numbers allow to solve for increasingly harder equations. That was
probably a bad idea and she didn't get it anyway. So I left out
quaternions and Clifford algebras.)


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