Burn Math Class: And Reinvent Mathematics for Yourself by Jason Wilkes

By Jason Wilkes

Forget every thing you have been taught approximately math. In Burn Math Class, Jason Wilkes takes the conventional method of how we study math—with its unwelcoming textbooks, unexplained principles, and authoritarian assertions—and units it on fire.

Focusing on how arithmetic is created instead of on mathematical proof, Wilkes teaches the topic in a fashion that calls for no memorization and no earlier wisdom past addition and multiplication. From those uncomplicated foundations, Burn Math Class exhibits how arithmetic could be (re)invented from scratch with out preexisting textbooks and classes. we will observe math on our personal via experimentation and failure, with out beautiful to any open air authority. whilst math is created loose from arcane notations and pretentious jargon that disguise the simplicity of mathematical ideas, it may be understood organically—and it turns into fun!

Following this unconventional technique, Burn Math Class leads the reader from the fundamentals of ordinary mathematics to numerous “advanced” issues, akin to time-dilation in distinct relativity, Taylor sequence, and calculus in infinite-dimensional areas. alongside the best way, Wilkes argues that orthodox arithmetic schooling has been instructing the topic backward: calculus belongs before a lot of its so-called necessities, and people necessities can't be absolutely understood with no calculus.

Like the neatest, craziest instructor you have ever had, Wilkes publications you on an event in mathematical construction that would transform how you take into consideration math. Revealing the wonder and straightforwardness of this undying topic, Burn Math Class turns every thing that turns out tricky approximately arithmetic the wrong way up and sideways until eventually you recognize simply how effortless math can be.

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Full disclosure requires that we offer informal descriptions of that which is informal. Professionalism has its place, but fundamentally its function is to censor honesty, and it has redacted pre-mathematics almost entirely out of existence. What I Wanted the Book to Be, from the Start This book grew out of an attempt to explain a subset of the universe of mathematics in as honest and unpretentious a way as possible, making sure at each stage to give away the secrets of our trade. At every step I attempt to separate necessary deductions from historically contingent conventions; I emphasize that the often intimidating words “equation” and “formula” are just code for “sentence”; I try to make it clear that all of the symbols in mathematics are just abbreviations for things that we could be saying verbally; I try to engage the reader in the process of inventing good abbreviations; I always attempt to make clear the distinction between what other textbooks actually do and how they could have done it; I attempt to present each derivation not in the standard post hoc, cleaned up form that reflects nothing about the thought process that led to it, but in a way that makes clear at least some of the blind alleys that most of us would be tempted to wander down before finally arriving at the answer; I try to explain everything as deeply as I can without sacrificing the coherence of the narrative; and I vowed that I would burn the book before I ever allowed myself to say “memorize this,” even once.

I mean, I’ve never written a book before, and I’m scared I might burn out along the way. I know I’ll never finish unless I make sure to enjoy the writing process. So if it’s not too much to ask, please try to tolerate my extraneous hyperbole. I promise it’s all in good fun. Anyways, let’s keep moving, dear Reader. Can I call you Reader? Reader: Works for me. Author: Great! You can call me Author. Or whatever you want. I’ll answer to any loud noise, really, so pick your favorite and let’s keep moving.

After I yammered for a bit, she asked why we’re never taught things like this in school. She completely understood the short argument, and so could anyone. Here’s the weird part: the argument involves solving a functional equation. There are very few courses in mathematics departments that focus just on functional equations. I’m not certain that there should be more, but it is a rather confusing fact once one realizes it. After all, every mathematics undergraduate encounters plenty of differential equations, as they should, and they inevitably encounter integral equations as well, but the area of mathematics devoted to studying and solving general expressions involving unknown functions has been largely neglected by history.

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