
SCARY MATH 
Sunday, August 06, 2006 
Mathematics has never been so weird.All was fine till the year 2001 when yours truly completed 10th std with his mind reeling with numbers of all sorts.Enter 11th standard and then disaster struck.
This post does not intend to hurt the sentiments of people like Srinivasa Ramanujan or Rene Descartes or Pythagoras or Vampire(who has incidentally discovered a mathematical proof for a hypothetical statement "All women are beautiful").Rather this is just a vent to the author's horrifying experiences with his oncefavourite subject.
Mathematics in 11th standard assumed a dimension of obscurity since this was when concepts like calculus and the letter e were introduced.Any engineering student would readily describe Algebra as an interconnection between alphabets and numbers but none can give an exact,accurate definition of the term calculus.Unfortunately these are the kind of questions that are asked in interviews that succeed competitive exams,chiefly because the interviewer himself does not know the answer.
Differential calculus was initially thought to be deferential calculus but it shattered all hopes to become defamatory calculus.The word "between" which must follow differentiate,was literally absent.Instead there were two d's separated by a line,one above the line and another below.One would be tempted to cancel off the two d's and then be left with y and x or y and t etc.Later this concept went on to form the crux of most engineering subjects(which explains why most engineers are dumb).
Integral calculus was different.It was supposed to be the integral part of higher secondary mathematics but students tend to think otherwise.Things would seem rather absurd when one sees a set of variables written inside an umbrella that looks like an f without the horizontal line in it.Engineering aspirants would have heaved a sigh of relief after the day of their mathematics board exam,to have gotten rid of abstruse stuff,only to discover later that Integral Calculus was out to haunt them throughout their engineering career.This explains the lopsided success rate in mathematics in engineering colleges(including CEG) and probably this is why most engineers are dumb.
The letter 'e'.Now noone could unravel the mystery behind the use of this letter.Somewhere in some remote corner of some remote page in the 11th standard mathematics textbook is a phrase that says that 'e' represents a number between 2 and 3.It looked absolutely weird,then.Complementing this absurdity were a number of journals in which mathematicians experimented with this letter.My question is whether anyone has bothered to find out the origin of the use of the letter 'e' in mathematics.Can 'f' be used to represent a number between 3 and 4?The online resources that carry information on such stuff are as obscure as a C program and therefore we common men are forced to live with it.
Next comes the most (in)famous alphabet "pi".There has been a constantly raging debate on the number of digits after the decimal point,that this term contains.Certain mathematicians have spent 99.9993792% of their lifetime trying to discover the number of digits after the decimal.Thankfully we engineers are exempted of attempting such weird things and forced to be content with 2.
Long live mathematics! 
Property of Sheks @ 9:09 pm 



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Name: Sheks
Home: Madras, TamilNadu, India
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