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

Tuesday, Apr 1

Our second colloquium of the semester will be given by Shannon Stock from College of the Holy Cross.  We'll meet in 364 for snacks at 3:45 then head to 392 at 4:15 for her talk.

Monday, Apr 14

Student seminar this week will be led by Maria Tilden.  Join us for lunch at 12:20 in room 362, then we'll move to 364 around 12:35 for the talk. Everyone is welcome!

Tuesday, Apr 22

Our third colloquium of the semester will be given by Nathan Karst from Babson College.  We'll meet in 364 for snacks at 3:45 then head to 392 at 4:15 for her talk.

Monday, Apr 28

Student seminar this week will be led by Michelle Lam.  Join us for lunch at 12:20 in room 362, then we'll move to 364 around 12:35 for the talk. Everyone is welcome!

 

 

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