Math from Zero to less Zero

As previously mentioned on the blog, something I want to learn and have enjoyed doing earlier in my life is math. I had a break from progressing in math from about after graduating high school until now. I’ve probably regressed a bit even, due to using just the basic parts of it for simple finance calculations like multiplication, compounding and simple probabilities in university and after.

I’m now 32 years old so the time that has passed is about 14 years. I wish to take it up again because it was a boy’s dream for me to master it and I always thought I’d be working with math or science when I grew up. 

I’ve decided to give math a serious shot again. Initially this will be a hobby project that I’ll combine with my career as much as I can and I will spend my free time learning. Eventually, if the opportunity would appear at some point in the future I’m not against doing a PhD, and/or teaching.

I found resources online, one of which is Khan Academy. I also found a few kind and competent people that have created lists of free resources online to help people learn math. (awesome-math by rossant, and understanding-math by nbro.) These are just a few examples to illustrate the vastness of resources out there. I am quite confident that it’s possible to learn a lot of math by self study.

Currently as previously mentioned the map of math is slightly uncharted territory to me. For example I know that I don’t master calculus and trigonometry right now. But what else is there? I don’t know what I don’t know. But I’m keen to find out as I journey further out.

From a podcast episode I listened to a couple of years ago (I believe it was this one) something that stuck with me is the idea that to learn C you need to first understand A and B if C builds on concepts from those. And that’s something I think most people can relate to. If you look at a math problem when you don’t have the building blocks to understand what is presented to you it will look very daunting and unintelligible. But as soon as you have those building blocks it clicks and it feels almost obvious. If it doesn’t it could be a sign you need to go back and work on previous building blocks.

My initial plan is to make room for 10 minutes daily of studying math in my morning routine. In addition to that I’ll try to get some studying done in the evenings. My goal is 10 hours per week.

I have an idea where to go first on this journey.  I’ll do trigonometry, calculus and probability and distributions. I’ll use Khan academy where courses are available. I will also read some articles and books on the subject to widen my perspective and get inspiration about where to go next.

In addition to consuming course material and doing exercises I also want to code math with python. It seems to be a widely adopted way for mathematicians and scientists to compute math with computers. Yet another thing I want to do is practice reading math books and learn from them. It seems very difficult to me with all the alien notations and symbols. But I think that’s just because I don’t have the necessary building blocks yet.

I’ll document the progress of this project here. Let’s see what we are able to uncover together.

Have you tried any similar projects? How did that go?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *