Can I get good at math?

Mathematics degree"It doesn't matter whether you're good at maths or bad at school"

Jochen Heinloth: "Your superposition, which is called x goes to y or something like that. And now you have a product of a topological space with an interval."

This mathematical language, says Jochen Heinloth, Professor of Algebraic Geometry at the University of Duisburg-Essen - initially scares off many, scares them. It consists of symbols, letters and surprisingly few numbers. Jochen Heinloth:

"That makes the language difficult - but also nice. Once you get used to the language, you realize that this kind of math has led to us being able to build internet search engines all at once, or your telephone all at once can see her face. "

You don't have to be a math genius to learn this language - the lecturer and Daniel Sebastian, who has just written his master's thesis in mathematics, agree: "It doesn't matter whether you're good or bad at math at school."

A certain tolerance for frustration is necessary

Because studying mathematics is not really about arithmetic, but about solving complex problems. At school, on the other hand, you learn to use math - like a cooking recipe, so to speak. Jochen Heinloth:

"But studying is about having curiosity, wanting to get to the bottom of things and understanding them to the end, until you are absolutely sure. And not just believing something because someone said that is the way it is . "

Julian Alff nods. The 24-year-old is studying mathematics in his fifth semester at the University of Duisburg-Essen. "And that's really the difficult thing, and people just fail because you're not used to the way you work. You just need a lot of time to get it done that way."

In general, studying mathematics is time-consuming and labor-intensive, says Daniel Sebastian. Many new students underestimate this, too, he says. "It is very common for you to start a task like this at eight on Mondays and not go a step further at 4 pm and have to go back to it on Tuesday morning at eight o'clock."

"You definitely don't learn mathematics on your own, you have to discuss it," says Jochen Heinloth, who teaches mathematics at the University of Duisburg-Essen. (UDE)

A certain tolerance for frustration is necessary, confirms his math professor and a great pleasure in thinking. Jochen Heinloth: "You have to have curiosity, fun puzzling, logical reasoning and perseverance, that you can endure it, that you don't find out right away."

"It's also just a lot, a lot of fun"

"Theorem 2.23, homotopy lifting property: let xyz topological spaces be, p a superposition of x."

Julian Alff is currently going through his thick folder for the topology lecture again. The exam will soon be due. He thinks it's all pretty tricky, but that's what makes studying mathematics so special for him.

"It very often happens that you spend hours thinking about it, well that actually only result in the fact that once - like in a comic - you have the lamp over your head - and then suddenly you know what is happening Bring a little. You have to want to fight a little, but it's also just a lot, a lot of fun. "

And access to a mathematics degree is easy, emphasizes Jochen Heinloth: "At most universities in Germany there is no NC for mathematics. We don't have the problem that we have too many students."

With good support against drop-out rates

On the contrary. In addition, the dropout rate is very high, especially at the beginning of the course, he admits. "In the first year we lose half. That's a lot. We're working hard to find out how we can do it better."

The University of Duisburg-Essen tries to accompany the students very personally right from the start, say Jochen Heinloth and Daniel Sebastian, who also looks after the students as a tutor.

Jochen Heinloth: "Right from the start, you have lessons in small groups, where you can get to know fellow students very quickly and exchange ideas. That is very important. We also have a learning and discussion center here, where tutors are also present. You definitely learn mathematics not on your own, but you have to discuss it and everything goes much better and faster in a group. "

Good career opportunities for mathematicians

And Karolina Gliszczynska, who is about to complete her master's thesis, recommends attending the preparatory courses at the universities on top of that. "This is a first step into more abstract thinking, where you can refresh your previous knowledge. And that's how you slowly learn to approach university mathematics."

She did it that way and thought it was just right. "This is Cea's lemma: let UH be the solution of BH for a closed subspace VH subset V and U from V be the solution of B - then ..."

Like them, most mathematics students also attach a two-year master’s course to the three-year bachelor’s degree.

Karolina Gliszczynska: "Well, it's already intense. You have to think a lot, but it's an incredibly beautiful subject. It's nice because you have to use your own head. I would study it again."

And because mathematics is actually in every thing or problem in our everyday life, mathematicians can work almost anywhere, emphasizes Jochen Heinloth. Classic professional fields are insurance, the financial sector, information technology, but also the manufacturing industry and supervisory boards: "Whenever you want to optimize something or understand a complex problem with a lot of data, mathematicians are used."

And they are taken with a kiss. Daniel Sebastian is currently looking for a job and has several specific offers. "They are looking for people who tackle problems that cannot be solved according to the scheme F and who have the ability to suffer. And so far I have not had the impression that as a mathematician you have great difficulties."