Mathematical definitions

Many students starting to study mathematics need some time until they realise the exact role of formal definitions in (esp. pure) mathematics. I love how Lara Alcock puts it: “when mathematicians state a definition, they really mean it.” (How to Study for a Mathematics Degree, OUP 2012, Chapter 3). Continue reading


Learning mathematics at Uni

This year, in my Groups IA course in Cambridge, I am trying to sprinkle my lectures with useful facts about how to think about mathematics, how to learn mathematics, and how to develop good intuitions as well as good working habits. I will try to post these thoughts on this blog as I go along. Most of these ideas come from a brilliant book by Lara Alcock, “How to Study for a Mathematics Degree”. To quote from her introduction: “Part 1 could be called ‘Things that your mathematics lecturer might not think to tell you.'”

Continue reading