Upcoming math lessons – what schedule do readers want?

The previously announced plans for future Summer School sessions may change somewhat. Feedback is requested, and details are offered after the break.

I’ve started working on next year’s intended Summer School course, which is currently intended to be an introduction to linear algebra. At this point, I’m finding that there’s a lot of prerequisite knowledge from regular algebra required to continue. It’ll be very hard to get this done in nine lessons. I’m also finding, based on web traffic logs for the Quantum Physics series, that a lot of people seem to be waiting for the weekends to read them. (Saturday downloads are outnumbering Tuesday through Thursday combined.) I put both of these together, and came up with a new alternative.

In future years, Summer School modules will be published on weekends, either Friday nights, or Saturday or Sunday mornings. (Preferences can be voiced in the comments below or via e-mail.)

Furthermore, I think the math approach I’ll be most pleased with is a concept I’m calling “Math From Scratch.” Carl Sagan once said, “in order to bake an apple pie from scratch, one must first create the Universe.” I’d like to take this approach with math, starting with the construction of the natural and whole numbers through set theory, then formal creations of addition, subtraction and so forth, building in multidisciplinary paths until everything I know about math has been laid out in a sequential order.

By my estimation, this could be a 200 lesson series quite easily. If it’s going to come out on any kind of regular schedule, I’m going to need years of lead time. So, do you want it to come out on a regular schedule, starting in 2013 or 2014, or would you rather have a “write it as I can” erratic schedule starting in January (after I’ve written Relativity and/or Assessment summer school modules for 2011 and 2012?) Speak up now, and I’ll go with the votes.

7 replies on “Upcoming math lessons – what schedule do readers want?”

  1. RocketDigital says:

    I read the summer school pdf the same day it is released. Usually after I’ve had time to relax from work and the TV is flickering in the background. So if you want to move it to the weekends that’s fine with me. As far as the next class starting up, while I am stoked that you want to tackle such a daunting task; I just don’t see you ever finishing it if you leave it up to “write it as I can”. Not to say you aren’t capable but most people are super gung-ho towards the beginning and knock a lot out and then never finish. Which would be a shame if you put that much effort to never see it completed. So my vote would be a scheduled release, if for no better reason than the looming deadline. That said, I do want to express my sincere appreciation for what you have already accomplished. Thank you.

  2. bbc says:

    “Math from scratch” is a very good idea. Advanced math courses should always begin with that. And scheduled or not, I’ll keep reading your great courses.

  3. pythor says:

    I vote for write as you can. You’ll build a reader base as you go, and that is a good thing. Waiting 2 years before you start will mean a lot more drop off in readers than a skipped week or three here and there.

  4. Those who are interested can find the current (rough and incomplete) outline here. It’s only got 63 lesson entries now, but that’s guaranteed to increase. (For example, ODEs, PDEs, complex numbers and quaternions are guaranteed to take more than one lesson each. Probably several more.)

  5. rickyjames says:

    I am really enjoying your articles, Blaine. You truly have a gift about explaining core concepts. If you spend the rest of your life writing up summer school chapters that can be bound together into a master orientation encyclopedia of key concepts, you will have accomplished a very great thing.

    I would like to see you try to simply explain group theory and Lie algebra and how this leads to the Standard Model. I have a general idea this is true, but when I try to figure how to dig into a simple starting point, I just can’t find it.

    Also prime number theory. I’ve read a couple of books now about the Riemann Hypothesis and there apparently is something really profound going on about the distribution of the prime numbers. I’d love to read your synopsis of what this is all about.

    The greatest mystery of all is why the universe seems to follow mathematical laws. I have a belief that somehow patterns in the integers we do not yet see somehow actually causes reality to exist – the “it” from “bit”concept, a modern version of Plato’s Cave. Want to take a crack at THAT?

    Your works remind me of a very enjoyable series of books called “50 XYZ Ideas You Reall Need To Know” where XYZ = Physics, Math, Philosophy, Big, Universe, etc. Check Amazon, all are great.

  6. rickyjames says:

    Other math overviews worth peeking at as you consider your own:



  7. hussein says:

    I also vote for ‘write as you go’ starting January.

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