Category Archives: Undergrad. Adv. Math.

Curious cosmologies and killer rabbits

Another dissertation season has been and gone. For our weaker final-year students this season meant struggling gamely with the constraints on self-expression imposed by English grammar as their supervisors understand it; for me it meant struggling less gamely to¬† understand … Continue reading

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Don’t disturb my circles

Every working mathematician knows that if one does not control oneself (best of all by examples), then after some ten pages half of all the signs in formulae will be wrong and twos will find their way from denominators into … Continue reading

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Any portmanteau in a storm

Our students don’t write a lot of essays for us, which may be why I’m still quite easily impressed by their innovations in the English language. This week’s specimen was a rather neat little portmanteau: The well-reknowned model of Lotka … Continue reading

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Comment is sacred, but facts are free?

Scene: a second-year Mechanics tutorial, fairly recently. Me: … so we just need to know how long the body takes to go round the earth. The body in question is the moon, so we know that its period is roughly… … Continue reading

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The arrow thing

Every now and then when marking students’ work you find a comment in which they look up from the page to address you directly. One such comment stood out recently in the middle of an especially migraine-inducing submission — one … Continue reading

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Passing momentum

There are occasions when a completely explicable linguistic slip unfortunately creates an image that overpowers everything around it. Here’s a specimen from the latest batch of Newtonian mechanics assignments to land on my desk: Due to the momentum of conservation… … Continue reading

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More quadratic equations

Here’s a further undergraduate contribution to the theory of quadratic equations, taken from my most recent plague of marking. The context is a final-year exam; notation has been changed to protect the guilty, but not enough to affect the difficulty … Continue reading

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