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How Can a University Student Become a Successful Mathematician?

- 15 February 2014, 07:02

Mathematics is about computations, arithmetic, shapes, patterns, logic, frameworks and rules for applications of models. This definition is magical in a sense that it allows mathematics to model almost anything in life and translate it into a framework with a set of rules. This is why it is no surprise that we see that it has applications in diverse areas as science, engineering, social sciences, psychology, and economics. Recently it is relied on heavily in banking and financial decision making.

This is why the whole world is competing to produce world class mathematicians that can further develop science and technology and thus contribute to the well being of the individual and society.

To be able to produce the perfect mathematician one must know what are the demands of a mathematician. We should also know about the challenges that he is expected to face.

Mathematics requires logical thinking and reasoning. It needs a person with a critical eye who can find the root cause of the problem and thus can model it correctly. It needs a well trained person to work in advanced mathematics and contribute to the development of society. Because mathematics enters in many subjects it satisfies a very wide range of interests and relies on a diverse set of abilities. That is to say if you are a mathematician that is interested in the application of mathematics in modeling psychological human behavior. You will be only using the mathematics modeling tools that are relevant to this problem. These tools will demand that you have strong abilities at certain fields in mathematics. However, if your abilities in the other fields of mathematics are poor your capability in your field will not be hindered. Moreover, this field is suitable for those with vivid imagination and those who love the challenge. It is a career for those who love to explore the unsolvable. That is to say unsolvable with traditional means.

Since we know what are the demands of a successful mathematician now the question is how one can become a successful mathematician. In other words how to create the successful mathematician. The first thing and the most important thing is that the student should have a strong motive. He should be both patient and confident and always trying hard. Those who succeeded in mathematics were not because they are clever and you are not it is because they did not quit when they failed.

The process of learning is almost the same in any subject and it follows the same stages whichever subject you are studying. This is true if you want to learn a new language or you want to learn mathematics. When you start learning any subject for the very first time you follow the same phases all the time. In the first phase you do not believe you can make it and think it is made to think that you can make it. In the second phase you try and fail and get disappoint and feel that you were correct that it was an impossible dream. In the third phase when you persist trying something magical happens. You start some sort of success and things start to workout. Finally if you persist further you do well.

The second point is that the student should make sure that he grasps the concepts well. He must check on that by solving model questions and checking model answers. It is crucial that the student does not leave any concept not understood and go to the next lecture with the teacher. This is because lectures build on each other and if the student missed a previous concept he will miss all the coming concepts.

The student should use the innovative software calculators in the markets to experiment with the concepts and discus his results with the teacher and with his friends. This way he can reinforce his understanding of concepts.

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