While always a good student in math, the subject never really engaged my enthusiasm until Pre-Calculus. Since then I have taken off, and have completed all of my school's class offerings for upper-level math and science. I had never really understood why we were learning all of these random math concepts. Calculus and Pre-Calculus showed me why, and that was probably the turning point for me. I had finally realized that math means something and can be used for more than just balancing a bank account. Since then, I have begun really enjoying math. Not only have I surpassed the limits that our school offers, I have been scrounging around (not unsuccessfully) to find new things I can learn about.


My calculus class last year was amazing. We were all bright, eagar students, who actually wanted to learn math. This was the first math class I had been able to enjoy like this, and it was refreshing. Much of the joy of the class was ironically due in part to my teacher's pace (arduously slow). This allowed me and a few other people in the class some time to investigate math further than any of us were expecting. We found out about fractal geometry; we found out about taylor expansions. Near the semester part of the year, we all ended up going our separate ways to study our own personal tastes.



Personally I wanted to investigate fractals. I found the idea of that much detail to be incredible, especially from such simple equations. My first exposure to fractals was when a few of us in calculus found a book entitled "Beautiful Math." No-one was expecting much, but we looked in anyway. The first page was a picture of the Mandelbrot set. I was hooked. I thought (and still think) that the Mandelbrot set was the single most impressive mathematical finding in history, including Euler's identity. I immediately set off to learn as much as I could about fractals.


One of my personal beliefs is that a person doesn't know a concept well enough if he can't teach that concept to someone (something) else. This is one of the reasons I enjoy programming. I know that I understand the concept if I am able to teach it to a computer. These fractal imags were all generated by a simple program that I created. It only does Mandelbrot and Julia sets, but it is very powerful, and is able to zoom up to 3.4 billion times. At that point the computer is no longer able to store the decimal places needed and begins to round, creating pixelization. Most concepts that I learn in math I try and write some kind of program that will do the same thing. It just helps me put the steps in order.


Current Math

On my transcript it says that I am taking AP Statistics. This is not the only course I am taking this year. Due to the reduced workload that class offers, I have ordered a Multi-variable calculus book from Central Kitsap High School and am trying to work on my own to learn that. It's going pretty well so far, I have just completed the chapter on parametric and polar equations. It's always fun trying something, working for hours at a time, and then reading the next page and finding that I could have done the same thing in about five minutes.


Mu Alpha Theta

Over the years I have become more and more involved with our local Mu Alpha Theta delegation. As one of the captains this year, I have the unique opportunity of working with peers to learn new concepts as well as compete against other schools in a challenge of mathematic skill. Mu Alpha Theta inspires its members to develop their skills in all disciplines of mathematics, as well as developing reasoning and logic skills necessary to higher level learning.


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