The Math Major Who Did Not Like Calculus

Hi there. In this not so technical math related post, I recall an experience where I met a math major who did not like calculus. Looking back at this, it got me thinking about things in terms of mathematics and in education.


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The Math Lounge Study Room


In my university days as a math major, I would often hang out in this room called the Math Lounge. It was a small room with a nice sized whiteboard that can fit up to five people. There were no windows which was not actually a big deal for me. I would go to this math lounge room as often as I could for studying and learning with minimal distraction.

 

Meeting The Math Major Who Did Not Like Calculus

I did meet a math major who was older than me occasionally. She was a nice, quiet and polite math major who specialized in graph theory, discrete mathematics, optimization and operations research. What surprised me was that she admitted that she did not like calculus. A math major who does not like calculus, what is this? At that time this blew my mind. Looking back now, I sort of understand.


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Too Much Emphasis On Calculus Education?


Looking back on meeting this person, I do wonder if there might be too much of a focus on calculus education from mathematics. In my province of Ontario in Canada, a lot of university programs in the sciences, engineering, math and business do require a high school course in calculus. Some university programs may have lower requirements such as requiring pre-calculus (Advanced Functions course) or a data management course (Intro Probability & Statistics course).

In my own (biased) view, I do think statistics has more utility and applications than calculus. The area of game theory seems underrated as it could be used for strategies against other competitors in a system. It could be that there may not be many game theory teachers around.

With cryptocurrency increasing in popularity, it would make sense that more math courses in the area of graph theory or cryptography would appear. Some crypto projects use some sort of Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) network. Directed Acyclic graphs are from the field of graph theory.

 

In My Area Geometry Education Is Scarce


In my region I have found that there is not a lot of variety in terms of math topics. Outside of trigonometry, I can admit that geometry is not my strong suit. It is mostly because of the lack of training in it. My area does not teach that much geometry as our school system focuses more on number sense, algebra, pre-calculus and not so much on geometry. Maybe that is why the Toronto area does not have many buildings with funky shapes and patterns.

 


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Thank you for reading.

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