Transitioning to Proofs

One of the challenges in becoming a math major is learning the art of mathematical proof.  

It is proof that distinguishes mathematics from other academic disciplines, giving our subject a permanence  and transparency which makes mathematics truly timeless.  Most students come to college having already exposed to a wide range of logical thinking processes, even if they haven't been aware of them.  Being able to phrase and support logical arguments, however, is a skill that takes time and effort to master.  As with any new skill, it will be your commitment to frequent and careful practice that will turn this new technique into second-nature.

As you transition into a proof-based class, your best resource is the professor of your class; this person can help you learn to read and write mathematical statements, and they can give you tips on how to approach certain standard proof practices.   There are also a number of books which help students understand the basic structure of proofs.  This PDF was a short guideline written by Erica Dohring ('14) which gives some ideas for how students might effectively transition into a proofs-based class; it also includes some suggestions for further reading as you explore this exciting new mathematical frontier.  

Upcoming Events

Monday, Sept 15

The math department's student seminar kicks off for the semester.  Join us at 12:20 in room 362 for food and a mathematics talk by a fellow Wellesley math enthusiast.

Monday, Sept 22

The weekly student seminar meets in room 362 at 12:20.  The department will provide lunch, and one of your peers will provide a great talk.  All are welcome to attend!

Wednesday, Sept 27

This year's Math Games will be held from 4-6 in room 362 of the science center.  No particular mathematics experience is needed; bring your friends and come join the fun!

Tuesday, Sept 30

Dan Rockmore from Dartmouth College will deliver our annual Martha Davenport Heard lecture. The talk starts at 4:15, and afterwards we'll go to the College Club for dinner

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