Is there such a thing as an amateur mathematician? I mean I am slowly becoming infatuated with math and numbers, especially their abstract / finite juxtaposition but I'm really slow at the comprehension and a little crippled by using a calculator. But the whole reason I want to learn more math is because I like the theory, I like the higher stuff, the abstract fuzzy stuff that you can use for metaphors in a story. (I'm a writer) so I want to devote a larger chunk of my life toward studying math, as it is the universal language it were, like music and music is math in a way; but I know I am not good enough to truly go to school and learn it in an academic setting. I took an Honors Algebra 2 course in HS and failed it almost, so .... yeah. I'm just curious about this and thought I'd toss the question out into the aether to all the math whizzes out there and see what they all think....


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I think it was Einstein who said that if you can't explain something simply then you yourself do not understand it enough.  That being said, it may be difficult to create metaphors for something that you don't fully understand yourself.  However, I can say that you don't need to be able to work out equations completely to understand the concept behind it.  Most math books start each chapter by attempting to explain the concept with metaphors and practical application.  You could study that aspect of mathematics, then watch an online youtube lecture on the subject to gain a fuller understanding of the concept.  The heart of mathematics is logic, and many of histories most famous mathematicians have been able to apply said logic to a wide variety of seemingly unrelated subjects.  Therefore, it may also be interesting to study the words of famous mathematicians and scientists as they sometimes have a way of communicating the poetry of their art quite well.

There is a set of DVDs called math tutor that takes you from simple math to advanced in 60 one hour classes.

If you can not find let me know, Dave

I've always loved the patterns one can find among numbers. For instance,

1^3 = 1^2                                                 =1^2

1^3 + 2^3 = 3^2                                       =(1+2)^2

1^3 + 2^3 + 3^3 = 6^2                             =(1+2+3)^2

1^3 + 2^3 + 3^3 + 4^3 = 10^2                 =(1+2+3+4)^2

1^3 + 2^3 + 3^3 + 4^3 + 5^3 = 15^2       =(1+2+3+4+5)^2


and so on. In general, 1^3 + 2^3 +...+ n^3 = (1+2+...+n)^2.


That's nice, it's true for the continuous equivalent as well, i.e. integral of x^3 from 0 to k = (integral of x from 0 to k)^2.

Some amateur mathematicians have done very good work, like Erdos, Fermat and Ramanujan.  All of these people were involved in number theory, which is often fascinating to amateurs. 

List of amateur mathematicians



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