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Homegrown math study group.

"Life is what intrudes on you while you are learning mathematics" (J&T)
Don't be "Postponing your failure" (J&T)

Tom Lahore and me (Jad Nohra), and I am sure many others, find that there are not enough practical problems forcing us non-PhD / non-academic to delve into math as much as we like. It is a chicken and egg problem and we have strongly felt during the last years that we should do something about it and never had the discipline to do it consistently and therefore usefully. We will give this another shot at http://sites.google.com/site/77neuronsprojectperelman/ 

We will start by using the Khan academy videos (1 to 2 videos per week) and discuss them during sundays possibly using some online conference tool and use the wiki to share our thoughts. The Site is public so feel free to do it with us. Will we fail and stop in a month? I don't know ... we hope the fact that we do it in a group and that we use very low commitment (1 to 2 videos per week) will help.

Why? many reasons, maybe these quotes will help:

“I could either be a traditional intellectual, or a modern intellectual using the results of my research for the
problems of contemporary society. This was a dangerous path. Either I could do too much research and too little application, or too little research and too much application
." Richard Bellman. 
“My first task in dynamic programming was to put it on a rigorous basis. I found that I was using the same technique over and over again to derive a functional equation.
I decided to call this technique “The principle of optimality.” Oliver Gross said one day, ‘The principle is not rigorous.’
I replied, ‘Of course not. It’s not even precise.’ A good principle should guide the intuition." Richard Bellman.
“What is worth noting about the foregoing development is that I should have seen the application of dynamic programming
to control theory several years before. I should have, but I didn’t. It is very well to start a lecture by saying,
‘Clearly, a control process can be regarded as a multistage decision process in which... ,’ but it is a bit misleading.
Scientific developments can always be made logical and rational with sufficient hindsight. It is amazing, however,
how clouded the crystal ball looks beforehand. We all wear such intellectual blinders and make such inexplicable blunders
that it is amazing that any progress is made at all." Richard Bellman.
"All this contributes to the misleading nature of conventional history, whether it be analysis of a scientific discovery
or of a political movement. We are always looking at the situation from the wrong side, when events have already
been frozen in time. Since we know what happened, it is not too difficult to present convincing arguments to justify a
particular course of events. None of these analyses must be taken too seriously, no more than Monday morning quarterbacking." Richard Bellman.
"Bertrand Russell, one of the most famous logicians ever, struggled with this problem for a long time. In his autobiography, he describes just how hard he found the problem. Every morning, he said, he would sit down at his desk with a blank piece of paper in front of him. At the end of the day, he would still be staring at the same blank sheet of paper"

When you are in college, the standard calculus 1,2, (maybe 3) courses will teach you the material useful to engineers. If you want to become a mathematician (pure or applied), you must pretty much forget the material in these courses and start over