The Importance of Non-Technical Questions to Successful Mathematics Education

Students who are hard-working and otherwise successful, but whose peers, mentors, and home environment are mostly non-technical and disengaged from the ideas behind science and technology, are at substantially higher risk of disorientation, dissatisfaction, and disillusionment with mathematics and science.

In this article, I’ll develop this conjecture and suggest an approach that incorporates philosophical and humanistic elements into technical subjects. To reach and engage a broader popluation of students is critical if mathematics education is to directly contribute to the technical (& technological) literacy of a broader population of students.

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A Course in the Philosophy and Foundations of Mathematics

An examination of mathematical methods and the search for mathematical meaning.

During your studies of mathematics, physics and engineering, you may find yourself distracted or troubled by meta questions about mathematics — questions that fall outside the syllabi of most of the coursework that you’ll take.

For those for whom this itch is persistent, what follows is an outline and reading list for a Course in the Philosophy and Foundations of Mathematics. Among the topics included are the relation of mathematics to science, the examination of mathematical method, and the search for mathematical meaning.

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Why Zero Raised to the Zero Power IS One

Updated! February 5, 2017

The value of zero raised to the zero power, (0^0), has been discussed since the time of Euler in the 18th century (1700s). There are three reasonable choices: 1,0, or “indeterminate”. Despite consensus amongst mathematicians that the correct answer is one, computing platforms seem to have reached a variety of conclusions: Google, R, Octave, Ruby, and Microsoft Calculator choose 1; Hexelon Max and TI-36 calculator choose 0; and Maxima and Excel throw an error (indeterminate). In this article, I’ll explain why, for discrete mathematics, the correct answer cannot be anything other than 0^0=1, for reasons that go beyond consistency with the Binomial Theorem (Knuth’s argument).
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Characteristics of Modern Mathematics

What are the characteristics of mathematics, especially contemporary mathematics?

I’ll consider five groups of characteristics:

  1. Applicability and Effectiveness,
  2. Abstraction and Generality,
  3. Simplicity,
  4. Logical Derivation, Axiomatic Arrangement,
  5. Precision, Correctness, Evolution through Dialectic…

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What is Mathematics?

Can a definition be given that captures the meaning of Mathematics across the millennia of its recorded history? What unites the practice of mathematics throughout its history and into the present time?

In this article, I will try for a short answer by proceeding iteratively — convergence will be reached in two iterations….
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