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Ntstanch
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07 Mar 2009, 7:54 pm

Okay... so after just two months of chemistry I have decided that I definitely enjoy it... and it is practically all I do. My problem, however, is that after talking to my prof, he has told me that there's really no way to avoid long and tedious math in the upper levels of chemistry.

This is a problem for me because...

A: I answer everything in my head in a sort of virtual reality discovery channel way. I even managed to think up ( and have it confirmed by my prof ) some of the laws of thermodynamics and how atoms interact with gravity/temperature.

B: When I find the best possible answer in the same fashion I tend to draw models, and then verbal equations that others have a hard time understanding without me there to illustrate it. This is a pain in the ass... and the thing I hate most is having to sit down and figure out how to write a simple number plugging equation. I hate this because it's like once people can understand the equation they totally devalue the whole concept as though doing the equation means you know everything about it... and explaining the equation or concept can be like trying to explain a tree without using words like tree, bark, green, brown, roots, etc... to a person that doesn't even know what a tree is.

C: Going in with the above reasons... the biggest problem for me is that learning actual equations that have no visual support for me = ridiculously difficult to retain.

In pure math I am denied my primary reasoning/problem solving ability and at best can only patch in understanding in a sort of jigsaw puzzle fashion. The more parts to the whole picture that I have = the higher probability that I will figure it out, but with math it's like having 1/4 the pieces, and every piece is just a number or a symbol. A puzzle piece of a foot will conjure up thousands of logical relations and ideas of what the whole picture may be... but a puzzle piece of a -2 is just a -2 to me. Any relation I get from that is incredibly slow in comparison to the foot, and has to be forced to be processed into words, and then the words have to be deciphered in relation to some form of image.

Example: I see -2 + -2 .... okay, -2 is like taking two things away... but then I get stuck up on how you can't take something from nothing, then add two more nothings, and have to fall back to word decipher mode, and eventually just think " okay, I'm taking two away from this, and then taking two more away... now it is -4". Hopefully someone could see why this can be frustrating/annoying on problems like this which are far more obscure. It forces me to do everything backwards and awkwardly.

Rant/possible over explanation done.---------

The main thing that I'm asking, with that bit of knowledge, is whether I should go with chem and just hope the two page long equations don't ruin me, or maybe try Physics... which I was told makes far more use of my thinking style as opposed to chemistry. Essentially I want to be able to mostly do what I do now, and that's get more visualization of how things work on the " invisible " scale and come up with more information to solve things similar to the thermodynamic laws. While staying as far away from anything that doesn't involve a large amount of imagination.

So the goal is to stay far far away from excessive number plugging and equations, and to continue to be able to just figure things out to a high degree of certainty, and then to reverse engineer that idea into a theory, model, and then an equation.

P.S. ... Sorry for the length of the post. It actually took like two hours to write because I kept ranting too much and deleting large portions after realizing it.



ForgottenDarkness
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07 Mar 2009, 8:02 pm

it all comes down to math:

Biology is essentially chemistry
Chemistry is essentially physics
Physics is essentially math

so does it really matter.

but seriously, it depends on your interests and what you are comfortable in.



DNForrest
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07 Mar 2009, 8:20 pm

If you have a high level of difficulty with that kind of math, Physical Chemistry will probably be incredibly difficult for you. P-Chem's the required junior level classes required for most Chemistry and Chemical Engineering majors, and it's basically one-third Thermodynamics (not very hard) and two-thirds introductory Quantum Mechanics (hardness dependent on who's teaching it). From what you've said, Quantum Mechanics would be extremely difficult for you, as it requires some incredibly obscure math with non-real numbers (many equations involving variables to the power of i). There was one point when the professor said flat-out "Don't even bother trying to visualize what these equations mean, no one can. It will just make it even harder for you to learn the material." If you really do love Chemistry, you may want to look into Biochemistry/Bioengineering programs (I'd suggest going for Bioengineering, since that'll start off paying twice as much and easily put you into management in 5-10 years, then VP in 20-30). The way it worked at the school I went to was the Chemical Engineer majors who couldn't handle the math required for Physical Chemistry just took Biochemistry and became Bioengineers (Biochemistry's a lot like Organic Chemistry where it's a lot of memorization). I don't know how well you'd do with Physics, since it might also require the same type of introductory Quantum Mechanics classes your junior or senior year (I've only ever taken second-year Physics classes).



Ntstanch
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07 Mar 2009, 8:55 pm

DNForrest wrote:
If you have a high level of difficulty with that kind of math, Physical Chemistry will probably be incredibly difficult for you. P-Chem's the required junior level classes required for most Chemistry and Chemical Engineering majors, and it's basically one-third Thermodynamics (not very hard) and two-thirds introductory Quantum Mechanics (hardness dependent on who's teaching it). From what you've said, Quantum Mechanics would be extremely difficult for you, as it requires some incredibly obscure math with non-real numbers (many equations involving variables to the power of i). There was one point when the professor said flat-out "Don't even bother trying to visualize what these equations mean, no one can.


This post was helpful. I have been working with my colleges chem department and my chem prof in figuring things out. Although my biggest issue is to explain the understanding that I have. Like for my answer to the equation that defines why hot air balloons and things go up my first assumption was that the pressure expansion on the balloon did it. I imagined it visually, like a video game, and realized that was silly, then I thought about how bubbles condense in lower depths and get larger... then thought about how temperature really just means energy or force... then thought about how a bullet does not sink until it loses its momentum, and then applied that concept to a two meteors flying passed earth, each the same path and distance, except one moving faster than the other... then realized that the momentum in a cubic area of space = overall density due to gravity most likely having less ability to pull on the quicker ones... for whatever reason. And not knowing anything about gravity outside of that it is there I sort of had to stop because I technically ran out of pieces to the puzzle.

That of course is probably of very little help... as I cannot explain a lot of why I know that gravity would pull something moving faster in slower, or how the energy interacts with each other to make them go faster, or where that chemistry comes from... and obviously I can't really write/explain how I came to those conclusions since I'm not so sure myself. There is never any math really, just an understanding from a pattern developed from getting an understanding of what the math means, while lacking an ability to remember and do the steps. So while I know what -2 means, while it is an obscure symbol, I can still unconsciously apply what would end up being equations with a lot of - numbers and logs/E/Pi/ etc... like my consciousness being Gary's Mod ( half life modification ) and my unconscious being the console and math that makes it work.

... hopefully that's at least a little more clear.



pakled
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07 Mar 2009, 11:15 pm

well, the growth field is biochemistry, although where I work, they've laid off quite a few. But we still have a few labs' worth left of 'em.

Physics, maybe applied to alternate power generation, etc., probably is a growth field also, so either way, you should be good.



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08 Mar 2009, 12:47 am

ForgottenDarkness wrote:
it all comes down to math:

Biology is essentially chemistry
Chemistry is essentially physics
Physics is essentially math



The basic laws of physics (the symmetries and conservations) can be expressed mathematically, but they cannot be derived a priori from mathematical axioms (such as the commutative law or associative law).

A good example. In relativity velocities do NOT add.

Hermitian Operatators corresponding to measurements (observations) do NOT commuite in general.

And so on.

For physics, math is a tool, not its basis.

ruveyn



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08 Mar 2009, 12:57 am

Ntstanch wrote:
B: When I find the best possible answer in the same fashion I tend to draw models, and then verbal equations that others have a hard time understanding without me there to illustrate it. This is a pain in the ass... and the thing I hate most is having to sit down and figure out how to write a simple number plugging equation. I hate this because it's like once people can understand the equation they totally devalue the whole concept as though doing the equation means you know everything about it... and explaining the equation or concept can be like trying to explain a tree without using words like tree, bark, green, brown, roots, etc... to a person that doesn't even know what a tree is.


Ntstanch,
I see your situation as being a very different learning/conceptualizing style. So let me suggest that you move away from he "pure" sciences, where everyone expects you to do it they way they all do. Let me suggest that instead you at least investigate engineering which is an application of the science to produce a physical solution to a physical problem. Math is highly important to engineering but essentially only as a means to "sizing" the various physical parameters once the nature of a potential solution has been established,, not as a matter of conceptualizing the solution. If I am correct in my speculation about what you are doing, your approach could turn out to be a rare gift.

Please understand the bias I bring to this suggestion. I am an engineering professor. However, my take is that if you can produce good solutions to real world problems, I really don't care how you do it, and the expression of the solution is a useful physical artifact. not some equation scribbled on a piece of paper in someone else's idea of a standard form. I once startled a friend of mine who was waxing eloquent about how powerful a tool mathematics was for the sciences. I merely asserted that mathematics can be limiting as well, because it may have no way of expressing certain concepts. Apparently you are concieving scientific concepts in a non conventional way that is not conventional mathematics. If you can do that in an engineering field you may have found a very successful niche for yourself. Your totally different way of conceptualizing a problem offers potential for finding innovative solutions. And innovation usually leads to solutions that are advantageous at least in some situations. So let me suggest that you give engineering a try, however I doubt you can just go counsel with an engineering adviser because he will not likely understand what you are saying because it is not likely conventional enough for him. The best bet would be to try a few introductory engineering courses and see if it works for you.


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Ntstanch
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08 Mar 2009, 3:11 am

outlander wrote:
And innovation usually leads to solutions that are advantageous at least in some situations. So let me suggest that you give engineering a try, however I doubt you can just go counsel with an engineering adviser because he will not likely understand what you are saying because it is not likely conventional enough for him. The best bet would be to try a few introductory engineering courses and see if it works for you.


I am really willing to give anything a shot. However, the problem all my life has been with people putting me down and effectively stamping out any intelligent self concept. My GPA went from 2.25 in high school with a 19 ACT to 3.7 my first semester at FSU, then like 3.2, and then 2.5. I transfer to MTU and change majors, only to receive a 1.80 and 5 out of 12 credits, seven of them I withdrew from. I also knew everything in the classes that lead to my 1.80GPA, but as always, managed to get a bad overall grade.

To be more clear... up until this semester, which has been fairly extraordinary, I have known that the way I had been taught all my life was absolutely the problem. Of course, who would believe me? No one besides my self and my dad, and after that 1.80 GPA we both had serious doubts. I added chemistry this semester by absolute chance at the last minute because I had to add more credits, and it fit well with my schedule. I then had a string of epiphany's that totally resuscitated my faith in my intelligence.

I proved it to the chemistry center, to my prof, and finally absolutely proved it to myself by answering some ridiculously advanced concepts in chemistry in my head, with nothing other than the concept of gas molecules flying all over, liquids being more restricted, and solids being even more so. All the rest was done in my head, as I said before.

With all the said... my biggest concern is speed, and actual permission to do these things. I would like to take a physics/engineering and another chem class for my next semester, possibly even during the spring...but I'm currently on academic probation and will end up with around 13-15 earned credits for two semesters. The chemistry department is really starting to recognize and help me out, but no one else is yet . And I really do not like the idea of saying, " Hey, I can do all of this stuff in my head, with my own formulas... when I have to do it your way I can't remember any of it and it is a waste of my money and time." for obvious reasons.

I also do not want to appear arrogant or as though I think I deserve special treatment... but how poorly I am in the traditional teaching style along with my overall lack of time in proving that I am not just a lazy failure = a sense of being rushed with no real solution. It's a difficult situation ... but at least I have my own certainty of my ability, and the support of my prof and the CLC advisor.


Edit: When I say that no one else is supporting me yet... I suppose I have to consider that this is all fairly recent. However, it is like winning the lottery for me in that my ideas going from being shot down by people who could not understand them at first, then being shot down by " smart " people who could not understand them during college... to finally having very reputable professors totally believe me = like a damn dream come true. So I apologize for sounding impatient or even possibly ridiculous at times... but this is probably the most important time in my life... and the overall unconventional factor of it makes it even more concerning as I have recently found out that some people are VERY opposed to my situation in regards to my difficulties with " easier " things and yet a total lack of difficulty in very complex things. The whole situation has me somewhat drained and obsessing during my idol time.



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08 Mar 2009, 8:57 am

Ntstanch,
I read your profile and you are in a situation where you might really benefit from an official diagnosis. Universities are trying to retain students and have various programs to do so, they also have programs to diagnose and help those with learning difficulties.

As for your GPA. I floundered around trying to get through my undergraduate years and with a lot of finagling and dropping of courses I was having trouble with I finally graduated from a 4 year program in 5 years with a 2.35 GPA. After I realized that I had the wrong education for my personality and skill set. I went back to college 2 years later and got into engineering and went from ME 102 (Intro Engineering Graphics) to ME599 (Master's Thesis) in 3 years with a 3.95. Later returning to College I got my PHD while teaching and Got a 3.98 in the graded courses at thta level. It has a lot to do with being in the right curriculum.

That being said, go check out what FSU offers for assistance in diagnosing and working with learning disabilities. If they have any sort of program where you can get an official diagnosis, it will probably cost less than any other way you can get one. and then there will be programs that you qualify for that may prove very helpful.

Disclaimer: You may get someone who really does not understand and who misguides you. When I was evaluated for dyslexia, while working on my PHD they said they did not really understand several things the test showed (Asperger's was not well known at the time) and they would never have recommended that I go into engineering but since with my engineering master's degree I had been earning more than they were currently earning they acknowledged that they really did not understand my case. Had they been my advisers earlier on, They would have directed me away from engineering where I really flourished.

.


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The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer


Ntstanch
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08 Mar 2009, 5:22 pm

outlander wrote:
Ntstanch,

That being said, go check out what FSU offers for assistance in diagnosing and working with learning disabilities. If they have any sort of program where you can get an official diagnosis, it will probably cost less than any other way you can get one. and then there will be programs that you qualify for that may prove very helpful.

.


Yeah, a woman from the chemistry department who I met after receiving extended time for my ADD diagnosis (diagnosed with ADD/OCD when I was 6ish) also worked in Landmark college ... which is a college specifically designed for people with these kinds of things. After she listened to how I went about doing things, and actually gave me the benefit of the doubt... which was key, she suggested that it may be beneficial to see an academic consoler both for aspergers and to figure out a strategy for me. She was also very specific regarding which consoler I should see. My appointment = Monday ... so I will ask her about the diagnosis. And hopefully she can help me out... which I feel she will be able to, as I totally trust the judgment of the person who suggested me to her.

I really should just be patient and wait until then too... but something tells me that if I were naturally patient that I would not be in this situation in the first place.



CyndiAn
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09 Mar 2009, 12:34 am

Hi Ntstanch. Your post is exactly what I am experiencing too at college. I am a particle cosmology and geoscience major. I am currently taking nonorganic chemistry. I love it. I think this is because it is a part of physics. I am currently amazingly focused on why the universe is not frozen solid; and also how electromagnetic field lines with plasma spiraling around them can be condensed under pressure to conduct electricity. Chemistry is the key to understanding these things and some other thought I have running through my mind. I have higher than a 100 average in this class. I maintain an overall 4.0 gpa, which really should be much higher, but they make you take the 4.0s.

I think much in the same way you do. Three years ago I did not even believe I could learn math. There was a counselor at the college I attended who helped me to understand I can learn math. Math is a great gift. I love it. But I had to work really, really hard to be able to learn it. I still have to work hard to learn it. I have to make a connection between the way I think and the way other people process the maths. Some days this is easier than others. Week before last a graph the math professor was using to demonstrate some math processes morphed into a shape totally different than what was actually on the board. This made it impossible to learn the math associated with that graph. My professor sent me a link which he thought might help. It did to a point, but I still was not quite there. So I went into the extended learning center. There was a tutor who took the graph and broke it into two parts and placed them on separate areas of the paper. The graph did not morph into the shape I had in my mind when the tutor did this for me. She explained it to me and I was able to actually learn the math process.

My thought is this: If you love chemistry or if you love physics, do not let anyone tell you to let go of what you are designed to do. Find a way to make it work for you. I am Asperger. There are things I am passionate about. I do not truly believe I could let go of these things even if I wanted too. So you have to find the resources to help you to be able to learn what you love.

Pertaining to particles: The professor is wrong. You are Asperger. You will find a way to visualize them. I do not truly understand how a NT processes thought. It kind of seems flat from my perspective. Math is also flat from my perspective. This could be I just have not advanced far enough in the maths yet to find math that is not flat. Anyway. I have visualizations of how particles work and how they may look. These things work really well for me. They help me to understand quantum mechanics in ways other people cannot understand them. It is a gift. It can also be difficult because we are learning it from an approach much different than the way we think. So maybe this is why we can be so very gifted at times, because we do have to learn it from more than one perspective.

I am truly remarkably supportive of visiting a counselor if that counselor can truly help you. Some of them do not try to work with an Asperger. They try to "fix" us because they think we are broken because we do not fit into the collective. If you can find a counselor who understands how gifted you are and how to make the connections to be able to communicate our perspective into the way NTs think, so we can learn, then you should do it.

Thank you for this thread. It is good to know I am not the only person like me in the universe.

CyndiAn



Ntstanch
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09 Mar 2009, 3:32 am

CyndiAn wrote:


"I am currently amazingly focused on why the universe is not frozen solid; and also how electromagnetic field lines with plasma spiraling around them can be condensed under pressure to conduct electricity. Chemistry is the key to understanding these things and some other thought I have running through my mind. "

"There was a tutor who took the graph and broke it into two parts and placed them on separate areas of the paper. The graph did not morph into the shape I had in my mind when the tutor did this for me. She explained it to me and I was able to actually learn the math process. "

"Pertaining to particles: The professor is wrong. You are Asperger. You will find a way to visualize them. I do not truly understand how a NT processes thought. It kind of seems flat from my perspective. Math is also flat from my perspective. This could be I just have not advanced far enough in the maths yet to find math that is not flat."

" Anyway. I have visualizations of how particles work and how they may look. These things work really well for me. They help me to understand quantum mechanics in ways other people cannot understand them. It is a gift. It can also be difficult because we are learning it from an approach much different than the way we think. So maybe this is why we can be so very gifted at times, because we do have to learn it from more than one perspective. "


"Thank you for this thread. It is good to know I am not the only person like me in the universe. "

CyndiAn


I broke the overall quote into ... well, obviously smaller quotes. Just a heads up in my answer pattern.

That focus for me ends at gravity and electromagnetic understanding. Problem being that I have to stop on gravity because I know that I lack too much information... and that figuring out more regarding electromagnetic fields, light, and how to measure planets volume/weight ratio and gravitational pull + their contents is what I need. Which is part of my overall frustration in having to do things the normal way when it's so painfully slow. When I have to learn in the normal way what I do is find all the patterns and relate them in general... which isn't to difficult, but then the night before an exam I cram and end up with a 60-80 usually. And of course forget everything but the pattern.

The absolute essential thing when I learn the normal way, is to be able to color that pattern and give it shape. If a professor is breaking down how a concept would look and interact with other physical things it's like throwing a DVD at a book or equation and having them turn into a movie. Of course this metaphor when reversed is how I naturally do things. Like watching a movie with no sound/subtitles and then writing a book about it... and having to explain that to someone who hasn't seen the movie. And with that reversed it is like watching a ten part miniseries on T.V. that's 10 hours long in one day. Then being forced to read ten 400 page books, in order from 1-10, so you can know how the one ends and be able to know whats going on when you start the next, and the entire purpose of reading all of those books is to know how the overall series ends. Which isn't all that terrible until you get to math.

I understand the graph thing... recently I've learned to just picture what the graph is saying for chemistry related things. Problem is that in calculus the graphs really don't seem to mean anything as does the math. They build me up with flat useless symbols that could not be put into images if they wanted to be. And when they FINALLY get to the point... I just figure out a way to do it in my head so I can see it. When I can see it there is no need for a formula most of the time, and the math becomes like it should be most of the time... a tool. Divide here, multiply there, add a power, subtract, throw a log in and you're done. I'm also curious as to how you can tolerate spending so much time memorizing the math in a typical way... do you still retain it as easily as when you can see it?

The NT thought process sorta looks like it is how mine goes about doing PURE flat dead math. Some are probably just better than others are remembering the pattern/words and definitely the steps. The average college student is probably in the middle and more balanced with no areas ridiculously ahead of any other. What I wonder about is if either is better... a gifted mind in doing mathematics and seeing/remembering patterns, numbers, and all the steps involved will certainly going to be more useful in some things and vice versa. The biggest thing now is that those people tend to dominate academically because they are the poster children for how things are taught and generally accepted. As where someone like myself spends three years of middle school in my room playing videogames, then four years of high school doing things that could have very, very, very easily landed me in jail, and then two and a half years of college feeling like it was a waste of time. AND 21 years 3 months being told I was an idiot and constantly ridiculed for not doing things the way they were. Hmm... fairly sour about that whole thing.

Yeah, visualizing is almost always fairly easy after I understand its nature and structure... being microscopic means nothing. The things I can't visualize tend to not matter much, as they are usually just ways to represent things I can see. Although I was unaware that visualization on that level was anything other than above average until recently. So I guess that if people have a hard time with mental rotation of things like cubes or folding paper ... then I can't even imagine how what I describe could make sense. Just like my not understanding how people can do mental math like damn calculators . I have to use my fingers half the time.

Hmmm... that turned into a rant. Sorry about that. And yeah, WrongPlanet has been pretty relieving regarding things like this.



CyndiAn
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09 Mar 2009, 7:44 am

One thing that has helped me to be better able to understand the math is understanding how it works in flat. I discovered this by accident when I downloaded a couple of courses of openware from the MIT website. There was a physics professor in one of the video lectures who explained math is the measurement of shadows. He placed a ball on the end of a spring and it moved in an upward and downward direction. He placed another ball on a wire that circled in a triangular shape (meaning one end was attached to something that made the end with the ball circle, so it kind of came out triangular to me). If you looked at the two balls circuling they did not appear to be in sinc or related in any way. When the professor shined a light on the moving balls (they were side by side) the shadow on the wall showed they were in sinc with each other and you could not even tell that one ball was moving up and down and the other ball was circuling sideways. The math we were learning in the video lecture (which I have not reached a high enough level of math to officially learn yet) explained that it is the function of the shadows that was being defined, not the actual visualization of what was occurring.

I do not know truly why, but that moment when the light hit the images and the shadow hit the wall, I had complete revelation. It also was a little confining, which I am still trying to work through the feeling of it. But it was helpful for me to see it because then I understood first that my thought about math being flat is not unique to me. It really is about measuring things in flat. And second, because it gave me a way to relate the math to the way in which I think. Until that moment, no one had ever explained to me that math is the measurement of the shadow of what is being defined by the math. The shadow can be the function. So I cannot actually place into words how it is I use this conceptual demonstration of math in my thought process, but it helps me to put the math into a perspective that I can manage. Maybe it will work for you too. I know we are all in our own space in the spectrum.

Gravity is something I spend a lot of time considering. I have broken it into different meanings. My thought about it is there are groups of varying conditions that result in gravity. I have not had an opportunity to officially study gravity, but it seems as if it is a force very much dependent on other things to be a force on many different levels. Electromagnetism is completely fascinating in itself, and lately I have been developing an additional strong interest in plasma. Anyway.

There are some things I have not been able to put into focus. An example would be the conceptual image of an Avogadro's number of elephants. I can use Avogadro's number in the dimensional analysis problems we work for chemistry class without any difficulty. But I have never been able to write a true complete "Avogadro story" using something like elephants. I think this is because I cannot logic through it. And I think that is absolutely the reason for the inability too. My brain has difficulty processing things that do not make logical sense. I think this may be because we (autistics) take things so literally. I have been able to learn some things not to be so literal, but many things if they do not make sense or do not line out with the logic, then they are difficult to learn. Usually, if my mind cannot grasp something like the elephant example the teacher gave in class of Avogadro's number, then it is a clue for me that there is either a piece I am missing or whatever the topic or example is, it does not make sense or perhaps another way to say it is, the concept is not truly based on sound or solid science.

My expansion on the subject of gravity is different than the Avogadro's number of elephants thing because gravity makes sense. You just have to logic through it. I do not yet have all my questions about gravity answered, but I know as I continue to think through it, more things surrounding it fall into place. I will eventually have a pretty good theorem about it formed in my mind because it is something I am able to logic through.

We are gifted in that we can take the things we learn and put them into motion. A lot of students do really well in some classes because they are able to learn the information that is given to them. My observation is that I have the ability to take that information and put it into motion, meaning I am completely fascinated with how it works, why it works, and what it will do. I think this is why I do so well in chemistry. I am driven to not just understand it, but to know everything about it in detail and then find ways to apply it to the things I consider so strongly. It is helpful too that the chem teacher does not mind my additional thought. She completely ROCKS ! ! I have had some teachers who do not want to hear additional thought. I have been strongly advised to not ask questions in some classes.

Ranting is not a bad thing. It is a part of being autistic. I am very appreciative of WrongPlanet and the opportunity to find others like me. It can be difficult being Asperger. It helps to find people who understand what you are referring too when you speak about some of the difficulties specific to us. You are very blessed in that you have a teacher who is assisting you and that you trust. I have no one I can truly trust at my school because I am being group mobbed. I have this thought that if I seek out a counselor (even one recommended by a teacher I trust) that the information I share with the counselor will find its way to the people who damage me and they will use it to damage me further. So I do drop some classes until I can find a way to work through the issues I have with that class to be able to learn. It is sad, but it is just a part of being autistic.



Ntstanch
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09 Mar 2009, 7:34 pm

Essentially for me... trying to figure out any way to get a visual on math seems to be helpful in that it is like having a chandelier or pine tree to hook the steps on or at least to use as a mnemonic. Well... a chandelier or pine tree is just my example for trig functions. So I can definitely see where you're coming from with the shadow measurement concept. It is easier for me to remember a string of numbers if they correspond to each corner on a cube than it would be to just remember that same string on a blank piece of paper. And the more a pattern fits in with the cube, along with more color/dimensions/etc to link the patterns with, = easier and easier to remember. Otherwise they're just similar looking bent black lines floating in a cold dead area of space between two galaxies... so to speak.

Gravity seems crazy important, as every answer I come up with after brain storming tends to lead me to needing an understanding of it to continue on in any meaningful manner. Electromagnetism and whatever is going on in between atoms and electrons and inside protons/neutrons seems real important to... but yeah... enough of that.

Avogadro's number gave me the same problem. I spent a long time trying to get an understanding of early on. As I had the same problem with the relating it to the HUGE number represented by it. And really... I'm pretty sure that it is just a thing similar to Pi. I followed the evolution of its concept starting from understanding how atomic mass is determined and what it represents. Basically it just seems to be a form of measurement which represents the reasoning for why the atomic mass is what it is in ideal circumstances. So in other words... ignore their stupid elephant metaphors.

Think of it as you are sitting on an atom in a " gas in a box "concept. Flying around in a shiny red box on top of a hydrogen atom. Except just pretend that the hydrogen atom is a kitten. Yes, imagine you are riding a flying kitten in a giant box with a bunch of other flying kittens. So, in this perfect box there is at room temperature and 1000 mm^3 to measure overall space(volume). So in a nutshell... the amount of time spent in each cube, or simpler yet the amount of space left over in that cube would if you dropped to 0 degrees K and stopped time ... would be what Avogadro's number represents. And since the kitten (hydrogen) is really the smallest atom that we can measure, he now gets to be the atomic number of 1. So with whatever they did to get the measurement of Avogadro's number = the most accurate and current best method for finding that area left after the flying kitten is stopped in time and the space of a cubic whatever is taken and the kittens mass is subtracted and, in the case of my example, multiplied by the 999 other cubes to account for the gas in a box thing. And when you take the kittens(hydrogen) out of that box and put the elephants(radon) in you will get significantly more of the volume occupied by the mass of the elephantradon atom compared to the kittenhelium atom. Thats about the best crazy homeless man explanation metaphor ... thing ... that I have for how I understand it. I also actually think I understand it more now than I did when I started trying to figure out how to put it into words. Before this I just sorta knew how to go about considering it based off how the periodic table is set up... and how one cubic inch of lead weighed less than one cubic inch of iron. Also... sorry if I sounded like I was patronizing or anything. I was sort of teaching myself as I was typing it, and when I do that I try to break it down into A: hilariousness ... and B: the simplest metaphor I can imagine.

As far as peoples views on this way of approaching things... I know exactly what you mean. My TA gets really irritated with me because I " try to make it more complicated than it is " ... and I think I'm stating to understand why she thinks that. To her the answer is " vaporization " or ... whatever the word is for gas to solid. Sublination I think? I forgot already after her sitting there treating me like a two year old because I had no idea what the word was. I think what peoples big problem with these things are is that, like outlander said, they are so unconventional that they either simply cannot comprehend what we claim because it seems like creating something from nothing. And it is very hard to prove... as chemistry was the first chance I've ever gotten after 21 years of having eye's rolled at me to prove that I wasn't full of crap. But even when you prove it... a lot of the time they still seem to be so utterly foreign to the concept that, to them, it just turns into something totally unimaginable to me. I want to call it jealousy or willful ignorance. Where they hit an impassable wall and despite all my attempts, they are stuck in their ways of thinking that it's at best just an excuse or something. Then when you prove that everything you said was true they seem to act like they didn't spend the passed semester giving you a hard time over it, or like it never happened in the first place. And if you so much as mention it they give an apathetic empty seeming " oh yea... " type response, and any more mention of it results in them seeming upset or even hostile.

As for finding a counselor that is actually open and receptive... I suppose I'm not really sure if I have any advice. Personally I met the people that are actually helping me take advantage of my chance. I would advise judging the character of a professor and then emailing them about talking to them about it. Or using things like a learning center and talking to the people that are in charge of accommodating learning disabilities. They should by nature be at least receptive of the situation. And at best be understanding and believing to the point where they take a seeming special interest in helping you. They then can give you the support you need, and lead you to people that can help you out further. And if you can't find that I would just be thankful that you can still do as well as you are in general. The most amazing thing about people not listening to me, or just telling me I was lazy or not that smart SOMEHOW managed to keep telling me that as though they were right... regardless of me spending thousands of dollars on it. I don't see how anyone in my financial situation could be viewed like that after all the money and work I put into it. It always comes down to the constant of people being stupid and ignorant in general. I do poorly? Well it's because I didn't do it like them. I do it like them and do poorly? Well duh, I'm not as smart. I do something impressive and they can't even comprehend it? Clearly it's because I'm wrong. When I show that impressive achievement to a professor and he confirms it and then I tell them? Well... then they seem to pretend as though they can't hear me, and if I mention it twice they become upset or angry and if I try to figure out why they just become more upset and angry.

Conclusion ... people are robots programmed to discourage any thinking outside the acceptable norms :P



mixtapebooty
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10 Mar 2009, 1:35 am

I am able to do complex conceptual analysing also. I decided to stay out of school for a while, and learn some subject material that had given me trouble, although I am quite good at the subjects involved overall, outside the school system. The difference I feel when learning on my own, compared to under an academic schedule is amazing, but has problems. Staying as absolutely as organised as possible in your personal life and space will, and does help. I have to embody a functional routine on my own, which is not an easy task. This has become a goal of self discipline, and if it takes me a little longer to complete academic goals (I have failed a few classes on my transcripts) this way, at least I'll be learning to do more than the material. Taking time off is scary, and runs the risk of losing sight of goals. If you can maintain self discipline, and really do enjoy chemistry enough to learn the maths, but learn them your way, even if it takes longer, you will really come out on top.



CyndiAn
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10 Mar 2009, 11:03 pm

Uhuh. I hear that a lot too, about how I always try to make things more complicated than they are......but really what I have come to understand is I think more largely than most people. They call it thinking "globally." When you think larger than everyone else, it probably does come across as "trying to make it harder than what it really is," when really I am just thinking the way I normally think. You have to put it into perspective. There was one lady in the Extended Learning Center who thinks globally too. She tried to help me make my work smaller in scope. I have a slight measure of success with it, but my work is always larger than everyone elses. It is not on purpose. It is just something that happens. Everyone else sees it as really large and I see all of the things I did not include. It just is as it is and there is not truly too much to do about it.

Mixtapebooty, I understand exactly what you are referring too. I spend a great deal of time outside of classes learning to learn what I will be learning in the next class. This summer I will be pouring over the trig book because I am already anticipating many of the shapes shifting into different things. I am going to try to work through some of those issues before the fall semester gets here.

The graph that shape-shifted a couple of weaks ago in algebra shifted into a curved triangular shape. I can see the volume filling it, which I do not know if other asperger people see images in this way or not. But I can actually see the volume even though it is clear. It has movement sort of like thick caro syrup, but not quite like that. It is very beautiful. It did not do very much for my situation with the algebra we were learning though. So I always try to work ahead with the maths so I can kind of make connections in my mind and to kind of work through some of the shape issues. I have a feeling Trig is going to be a true adventure for me ! !!

Staying organized is very helpful too.