Now this is more like it! I wasn’t very impressed with unit LA1, but LA2 was much more my cup of tea. I enjoy working with matrices, especially using row reduction to solve systems of simultaneous equations. I love being able to quickly find a solution for what initially looks like an intimidating monster of a system, just by using the row reduction strategy. Unfortunately there’s lots of room for silly arithmetic errors when doing row-reduction, so I’m finding that I need to double-, triple- and quadruple-check my work at the moment.

I’m not sure why it never occurred to me before, but during LA2 I found myself suddenly wondering who had invented matrix methods for solving simultaneous equations, and I was really surprised to find that the technique has been known for around 2000 years! That’s pretty mindblowing, I think.

I was a bit disappointed with the shortness of the question on LA2 in TMA03 – the questions on LA1 were worth 20 marks altogether, and the question on LA3 is worth 25 marks, but the LA2 question is a relatively modest 10 marks. I was looking forward to a bit more of a substantial workout, but I guess that the matrix-related material is mostly just revision of topics from MS221 and MST121, so I can’t really complain that they didn’t spend enough time assessing it.

The next unit, LA3, is about vector spaces – which I know absolutely nothing about, so I’m really looking forward to it! Who knows, it could even be a topic that becomes one of my favourite areas of maths, like group theory suddenly did towards the end of MS221. That’s one of the things I love about studying, and particularly about studying maths; there’s so much wonderful stuff out there that I currently don’t even know exists, just waiting to be explored! 🙂