Rant: Matrices Are Not Arrays of Numbers

The following is an excerpt from a current work of mine. I thought I'd share it here, as some people have told me they enjoyed it. As I'll stress repeatedly, a matrix represents a linear map between two vector spaces. Writing it in the form of an $latex {m \times n}&fg=000000$ matrix is merely a… Continue reading Rant: Matrices Are Not Arrays of Numbers

On Problem Sets

(It appears to be May 7 -- good luck to all the national MathCounts competitors tomorrow!) 1. An 8.044 Problem Recently I saw a 8.044 physics problem set which contained the problem Consider a system of $latex {N}&fg=000000$ almost independent harmonic oscillators whose energy in a microcanonical ensemble is given by $latex {E = \frac… Continue reading On Problem Sets

Teaching A* USAMO Camp

In the last week of December I got a position as the morning instructor for the A* USAMO winter camp. Having long lost interest in coaching for short-answer contests, I'd been looking forward to an opportunity to teach an olympiad class for ages, and so I was absolutely psyched for that week. In this post… Continue reading Teaching A* USAMO Camp

What leads to success at math contests?

Updated version of generic advice post: Platitudes v3. I think this is an important question to answer, not the least of reasons being that understanding how to learn is extremely useful both for teaching and learning. [1] About a year ago [2], I posted my thoughts on what the most important things were in math… Continue reading What leads to success at math contests?