Advanced College Education

I’m at the point in my college career that my classes are so advanced, so complex, that just mentioning their names to people make them view me as the second coming of Einstein. The funniest comment was when I told a friend that I was doing homework for Quantum Mechanics; his response was, “they have a class for that?” I feel pretty good about little things like that, since I am working really hard on my college education and making sure that I learn as much as I can. Why else would I be taking extra classes that aren’t required?

There is, however, a funny side to being in advanced classes as well. Since everyone is at the same level, and the professors know it, they commonly treat it more like a discussion between peers than as a professor-to-student interaction, which I love. In the case of my math class, what we’re learning ti just funny when you think about it. The top two classes for this are, by far, Classical Mechanics II and Abstract Algebra and Number Theory.

Classical Mechanics II
My professor constantly adds in ridiculous comments to what he’s lecturing in, which makes the early morning, hour-long class that much more enjoyable. I decided today to keep track of what he mentioned as a running quote, just to make sure I remembered everything. Here’s a re-written version; keep in mind that this is just from one class period; the actual class meets three times a week times fifteen weeks.

– When driving to Chicago from East Lansing, a less-than optimal route would be to find out where your ex-girlfriend’s house is and circle it a dozen or so times before continuing on.
– How to determine if your friend is a wanted murderer
– When meeting a girl for the first time, you should not try to discretize them, as the essence of the girl is lost during the discretation.
– Getting your blood drawn in East Lansing is a much more comfortable experience than the same procedure in Ann Arbor, especially since you will look like a drug user should the procedure be done in Ann Arbor.
– “…and I am the master of your pain.” (direct quote)

Abstract Algebra and Number Theory
This class is more funny because of what we are learning. This is a high level mathematics course that only Math majors and Minors need to take, the line of prerequisites is quite long, and the homework takes quite a bit of time to complete and get right.

Today we learned how to subtract.

Think I’m joking? I actually wish I was, but even better yet is that today we learned that rational numbers existed. Fractions. We also learned that zero times anything equals zero today as well, making today’s class one of the most information-packed lectures of the day.

Of course, once I describe how we learned/proved those things, then you begin to realize why it’s a high-level Mathematics course, but if I told people what we are basically learning, then wouldn’t think it that hard. Here’s how we proved that zero times any number equals zero:

0 = 0 + 0 [Additive Identity]
a0 = a(0 + 0) [Closure of Multiplication]
a0 = a0 + a0 [Distributive Property]
x + a0 = x + (a0 + a0) [Closure of Addition]
x + a0 = (x + a0) + a0 [Associative Property of Addition]
0 = 0 + a0 [Additive Inverse]
0 = a0 [Existence of Zero]

Stunning, right?


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