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PostPosted: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 01:25:16 UTC 
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I'm a middle age man who never went beyond basic high school math. Would it be particularly more difficult to learn algebra, trig, calculus, at this point in life, than it is for a younger brain? -- Matt


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PostPosted: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 01:36:10 UTC 
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I don't see why not. Just take it slow and don't rush. You can usually find good cheap books on EBay if you want to buy a few text books to go through.

Good luck!
Dave

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PostPosted: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 03:30:54 UTC 
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radmatty wrote:
I'm a middle age man who never went beyond basic high school math. Would it be particularly more difficult to learn algebra, trig, calculus, at this point in life, than it is for a younger brain? -- Matt


Nope...not possible. Got to start before you're 25, or it's impossible. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 05:01:50 UTC 
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Best time to learn calculus is before you're 6 years old. Its proven that its easier to learn that way.

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PostPosted: Mon, 12 May 2008 17:33:49 UTC 
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Difficult means hard to do, arduous, or laborious. Difficult perhaps, since the consensus (urban legend/myth) seems to suggest that what Matt is asking may perhaps be the trend because a middle aged man would have to work harder than a younger person would have to, but not impossible as Shadow brazenly declared. Impossible is when you’re dead. And where is this proof that it’s easier to learn calculus before you’re 6 years old? Another urban legend? One implication of Einstein’s theory of relativity is that there is no such thing as an absolute frame of reference. For all we know, the aforementioned consensus may not be the absolute truth or trend at all. The only reasons I could think of why it should be more difficult are these: you have a learning or physical disability, and certain things that are bound to eat up most of your time (i.e. a job, family, television, other hobbies and activities, etc.).

If anything, I’m betting it would be easier considering all the tools at your disposal, i.e. solutions manual, calculators (scientific/programmable/graphing), computers, the internet, math forums, etc.

The fact that you’ve taken the initiative on inquiring in such matters makes me think that the idea of learning these areas of math must really be beginning to take a hold of your psyche as it has taken a hold of me once. Whether you’re on a quest (remember Don Quixote?) or pursuing a hobby, I wish you all the luck in the world


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PostPosted: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 02:10:58 UTC 
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Hi

I think it should be easier to learn now because your reading skills must be much better than they were in your teens. You also have the advantage of the internet and a forum in which to ask math questions which you would not have had in your younger days.

At your age I think it would be better for you to read math books that are written for the general public. Reading text books kills the fun. I would recommend "Hyperspace" by Michio Kaku first and then perhaps go up a level and tackle "Road to Reality" by Roger Penrose.

Good luck with your search for the truth.


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PostPosted: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 07:36:35 UTC 
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Trust me, if you can attain a certain attribute, it would accelerate your understanding and learning beyond what your average younger person could ever hope for : And that attribute is !!!(drum roll) interest!

If you are interested in math, and enjoy learning it, age will not be a factor, even without it, I'm sure it doesn't matter so much how old you are ^^

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PostPosted: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 20:25:13 UTC 
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some people can *invent* calculus after 25

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Has anyone noticed that the below is WRONG? Otherwise this statement would be true:
-1\cong1\pmod{13}
i\cong5 \pmod{13} where
i^2=-1


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PostPosted: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 22:32:06 UTC 
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Learning mathematics is not like language learning. Children's brains are hard-wired to pick up languages effortlessly. But this facility is genetically switched off at adolescence, and it's really hard for an older person to learn to be fluent in a new language.

As I said, I do not believe that mathematical learning is affected in that way. What does seem to be true is that for anyone, young or old, it's much easier to learn mathematics from a person than from a book. If you can find a sympathetic tutor to learn from, I think it will make a huge difference to the rate at which you can consolidate half-forgotten high school math and then move beyond it to learn new topics.

That consolidation process is very important. Mathematics is such a cumulative subject that you really need to be confident and familiar with it at one level before you try to go on to the next level.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 03:08:31 UTC 
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radmatty wrote:
I'm a middle age man who never went beyond basic high school math.

Why? What did you do instead? Also, why do so now? Can you play any game of mental skill? Have you any interest in such games? What is interesting for its own sake? Can you solve puzzles that don't need more than quite basic school mathematics? Are you a perfectionist?


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PostPosted: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 05:17:29 UTC 
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or perhaps wanting a teaching a youngster about math?

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Has anyone noticed that the below is WRONG? Otherwise this statement would be true:
-1\cong1\pmod{13}
i\cong5 \pmod{13} where
i^2=-1


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