Please, how can I revise or improve my question? My request is here. Thank you all.

I tried my best to avoid an "'opinion-based' question' by sticking to the advice underneath. But why was my question still closed? My question is about specific expertise because I'll be thankful for the experts' advice here and I quoted those Cambridge math undergrads. But all these quotes are too short for me to understand. Thus, please expand?

The close reason for primarily-opinion based questions is relevant here (emphasis added).

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

Answers to a question about learning strategy involve opinions to a much higher degree than evaluation of an integral, but they can be based on expert experience, too.

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    $\begingroup$ For the question to be clear we would first need to agree on the definitions of what is pure as opposed to applied math. I don't see that happening. The department I work at is, most likely, not mainstream, because here automata theory, cryptography and coding theory are considered to be pure math, but probability and PDEs are applied math. All depending on random decisions made in the past based on who got interested in which topic. Elsewhere the opposite may hold. This is just one of the problems your question has. (As a moderator I should not rule on the on-topicness of your question.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 8:42
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    $\begingroup$ Whether harder, less hard, about the same, or incomparable is very much context-dependent. Sometimes, certain undergraduate applied courses are mathematically less hard than "pure" courses because the target population is mixed, and includes students in other disciplines who have less mathematical experience. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 4:12
  • $\begingroup$ Related: matheducators.stackexchange.com/q/7247/77 $\endgroup$
    – JRN
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 0:58

2 Answers 2


Why one is deemed to be more straight forward, easier, etc than the other will always be opinion based. I know people who are great abstract algebra, analysis, topology, etc but can't solve a PDE to save their life. They will say pure is more straight forward. I know people who can't understand what a group is but are great at applied topics. It all depends on who you ask on what the response will be. Additionally, at the graduate level, applied math has many proofs and a lot of analysis course that are required so their may only be a huge dichotomy at the undergraduate level; however, that would be strange since most math degrees regardless of pure or applied require a few courses that require proofs.

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    $\begingroup$ Some people would rather die than solve a PDE. =) $\endgroup$
    – Pedro Mod
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ @PedroTamaroff not die they just couldn't if their life depending on it. $\endgroup$
    – dustin
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 4:03
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    $\begingroup$ @PedroTamaroff sorry. i'm a bit fazed. but some opinion questions are allowed right, like those tagged advice? I revised my question overhead. I stuck to the requirements so my question is not 'primarily opinion-based'? $\endgroup$
    – user53259
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 4:17
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    $\begingroup$ I think that @Pedro was trying to suggest that some people would calmly accept death, if PDE was on the line. :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 19:39

It appears to me that the essence of your question is "Why do I and these students at Cambridge say that applied math is easier than pure math?" which I don't really think is a question about mathematics. Moreover, it is primarily opinion based, unless someone who you quoted gives an answer.

Your original question (OK…Math?) is good, and the post you link to at MESE (Is… Math?) can be cleaned up to be good. But its hard for me to imagine any version of the current question (Why…Math?) which I would find appropriate for the site.


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