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View Diary: Teacher's Lounge: I had too much to dream last night (53 comments)

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  •  It is difficult for an undergarduate... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, annetteboardman

    ...to get to the boundaries of mathematical knowledge.  In most directions, the boundary is 7 or 8 years away from a college freshman who is starting with calculus.  In some directions, it's more like 10-12 years away.  Most mathematicians should know this.  So how is one to get something that can appropriately called research out of an undergraduate student?  Most places that I have been knowledgable about would accept an expository exploration of how one gets to the boundary (Important note:  I've been away from the mathematics community since 2001).  Explain how the unsolved problem arises and why it is important.  Explain what knowledge is known that sheds light on the unsolved problem.  Discuss some approaches to solution that didn't work, if possible.

    At least that's how I approached undergraduate research.

    Another approach I was involved in concerned a student that wrote a multi-disciplinary thesis (math/philosophy) about Kurt Gödel.  

    Math history is an emerging field as well.  It turns out that many of the stories that have been repeated from math teacher to math students have little basis in truth.  Research the truth.

    Just some thoughts. :-)

    Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

    by rserven on Sat Sep 16, 2006 at 08:51:53 AM PDT

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