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    Default OT: What is your education in mathematics?

    I've noticed that math questions get a lot of helpful replies on here. I was wondering what most people here have under their belt in formal mathematics education.

    Personally, I've seen 3 semesters of calculus, with one course in linear algebra and diff. equations to come. Doesn't get much use in the shop. I think the most useful in our context is a knowledge in analytical geometry...which unfortunately, I could spend more time learning.

    How about you?


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    Lower division Calculus, Trig, and Analytic Geometry. Acad kinda makes you lazy.

    I've barely figured out compound angles. ???

    Regards,

    Stan-

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    Made it through all of the calc and dif-eq.

    Quite honestly.... I never understood how to apply it.

    I think more emphasis should be put on practical use......

    Tim

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    Three semesters of Calc, one each of Diffy-Q, Linear Systems, and Special Topics (using the book by Hildebrand - a classic), graduate linear systems (of odes), numerical methods, ODE/PDE/Finite elements, real analysis, complex analysis, and a bunch of other stuff.

    I use a lot of diffy-Q and linear systems in my job (writing math models of human disease - "Flight Simulators for Human Physiology") all the time. I'd love to spend more time in a shop making real stuff, sometimes, though!

    The biggest deficit in my education is in statistics. Engineers get lousy statistical training in general.

    J

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    I'm currently enrolled in college. I've so far taken 3 semesters of calculus, just finishing up diffeq, and heading off to multivariable/matrix next semester.

    Quote Originally Posted by bosleyjr View Post

    The biggest deficit in my education is in statistics. Engineers get lousy statistical training in general.

    J
    I hear this often. I had an entire course devoted to this called "modelling and analysis of uncertainty." I loved it, and I get the feeling that it gives me a rare skill set as an engineer.

    Henry

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    Algebra, analytical geometry, trigonometry, a course in practical calculus and a graduate minor in statistics.

    I agree that more emphasis should be placed on practical applications in high school and undergraduate level calculus courses. Derivations and proofs are very elegant and useful for people that can't accept the validity of the concepts on faith alone, but the concepts themselves are only useful when their practical applications are understood.

    I started an undergraduate class in calculus (taught classically, using derivations and proofs) and failed to understand the concepts because I was not taught how they could be applied. I wound up dropping the course. Later, in graduate school I had an opportunity to take a practical applications course with numerous real-world examples (from kinetics, ballistics, mechanics, hydraulics, etc.) to demonstrate the usefulness of the concepts. The difference in how fast I was able to understand and apply the new techniques was dramatic.

    Stan

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    Standard three semester diff and int. calculus,
    Ordinary diff. eq.
    Nonlinear diff eq.
    Some sort of complex analysis course.

    Jim

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    High School had the standard fare: Algebra, Trig, Pre calculus.
    Purdue had more of the same but added statics & dynamics, calculus.
    90% of my work uses math I had under my belt by 9th grade max. We work in tenths here,(of a foot, not what you guys are used to) as I'm in the excavation business. I'm always happy to find guys that check grade that understand this lower level math.
    I'm not impressed with 75% of the workforce's math skills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by register View Post
    [note regarding poor engineering statistics training]

    I hear this often. I had an entire course devoted to this called "modelling and analysis of uncertainty." I loved it, and I get the feeling that it gives me a rare skill set as an engineer.
    It does, Henry. Sounds interesting! BTW, are you at Rensselaer? Great school!

    Good luck,

    Jim

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    I only went as far as Geometry, and figgered that was way more than I would ever have use for. (How daffycult is it to figger out gallons spray/acre? )

    I always did very well in math (as you should be able to tell from my spelling abilities) as I would like to think most of us in this industry (Especially those of us that are self employed?) can hold our own as a rule...

    Never took trig, but use it in the shop [seemingly] everyday. Trig was a big part of geometry as far as I remember.

    But I was done with my math classes by my sophmore yr in HS, never went on to better myself () and so didn't use it much after that. Untill one day when I was about 20, we were setting poles for a new free-stall barn, and the boss man mentioned now knowing for sure how to figger where to set the first pole for the other side.

    I told him .... "Yunno - I should know that... ..... Let me think on that over dinner and I should be able to have that answer for you..."

    My brain was hurting - but it came back to me.
    (don't ask me to spell it tho! It doesn't even roll off the tongue well!)


    I am sure that if a feller continues on with this all through skewl/college, and then goes into a position that utilizes it regularly - he can retain it well. But after 4 yrs a lot of that stuff had drifted to the back 40 and was just liking the pasture lifestyle.

    "Use it or Lose it" really does come into play at times.

    Not untill starting my own shop did I really have need for it, and I pretty much live out of the "Solution for Rt Triangle" pages in the Machinery Handbook.


    -----------------------

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    Only goy thru Honors Calculus at U of F my freshman year.
    Kudos to my high school teacher, Mrs. Nelson, I use what she taught me constantly.
    (Chief SOH-CAH-TOA and the shortcut for 30-60-90 and 45-45-90 triangles)
    That alone usually has me running a job before the CAD guys get done booting up!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bosleyjr View Post
    It does, Henry. Sounds interesting! BTW, are you at Rensselaer? Great school!

    Good luck,

    Jim
    Yep, up here in enchanting Troy, NY...

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    I took Calculus 101 about six or seven times in at least two different institutions. Each time it was taught by an unsuitable instructor: PhD candidate in astrophyics, theoretical Electrical Engineer PhD, heavily-accented, unintelligible math department grad student, etc. Finally got through it when practical problem solving was explained by another loser like myself, using a clear and methodical approach.

    Had a few statistics courses, which left me with the conviction that if there is one thing that's not to be trusted, it's statistical results where someone else selected the sample population. ("9 out of 10 doctors surveyed preferred Camel No-Filters!")

    Thank god for practical arithmetic and math taught in public school up through and including algebra, geometry, and trig.

    What was sorely missing back then (and probably now, and probably forever) are math studies specifically related to banking, finance, and taxation, along with an education on how those "industries" operate vis-a-vis your money.

    A few years ago I had the displeasure of attending a special session of my local school board, to discuss a new mathmatics curriculum that the district had purchased. Long story short, it was so abstract the teachers could neither understand it nor teach it. Sample problems were passed around to those in attendance which were so nebulous in their wording as to defy solution. Needless to say, parents found it incomprehensible as well, and couldnt help their kids with homework. But, some pedagogue bought into this money-sink, and now the taxpayers are stuck with it. What I found particularly galling about this farce is that the last really "new math" was invented by Isaac Newton four centuries ago. Everthing else that every-day folks need to survive in mathmatical life has remained unchanged since then. One would think that something as immutable as math and arithmetic rules and their explanations would have no reason to change either. Apparently school administrators feel differently.

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    As a physicist, you are trained in a lot of specialized mathematical methods for physicists. This is mostly math applied to special physics problems. It includes vector calculus, group theory, various special functions used to solve physical problems, etc. This is taught in PhD programs that require all of the undergrad math that you would expect - calc, diff eq, real analysis, complex analysis, etc. I did a condensed matter physics PhD at Purdue. Most of it is not useful in the shop. OTOH - I am not afraid of shop math.

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    During apprenticeship there was a ongoing structured classroom course in shop math. It covered most all of what one will find in the MH in the way of calculations and covered trigonometery very well.

    Undergraduate engineering math course work was the standard three semesters of calculus followed by differential equations. This was augmented by specialized math courses suited to the direction ones engineering studies were directed. For me that meant statistics, fourier analysis, engineering economics and some I've forgotten.

    Much more math was learned on the job in the relatively early days of computer modeling of mechanical systems and finite element analysis. Fortunately I worked with a number of Math PhDs so there was help when one needed it.

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    I'm (was) also a Fizziker (Physics, UT-Austin), but began undergrad school as a math major. At one time, I had credits for about 135 hours of under- and post-graduate math, including all the advanced courses the department offered. After returning to grad school from pilot training, I never got the 'touch' back. Didn't need such capability to finish in Physics, but I miss the skill. No slouch, but not what I used to was.

    Mark

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    Stardard 3 terms of Calculus + Diff Eq, Complex Algebra, Statistics, bla bla bla . . . but the best course that was way more math intensive than any math class that I took was "Principles of Dynamics" - a machine design course that taught how to apply math to solve engineering problems related to mechanisms in motion.

    The professor made a big deal about a windshield wiper. (forget the fact that you probably wouldnt have windshield wipers on a moon rover)

    Week 1 - Calculate the position, velocity and acceleration of the tip of a windshield wiper relative to the point of rotation on the moon rover.

    Week 2 - Calculate same as week 1 from the center point of the radius of curvature on the path on which the rover is driving.

    Week 3 - Calculate the same as week 2 from the center of rotation of the moon.

    Week 4-6 - Calculate the same as week 3 from the center of rotation of the earth

    Week 7-end of term - Calculate the same as weeks 4-6 from the center of the sun. . .

    I hated that damn windshield wiper story problem but I learned a lot about how to use math to figure out relative positions, velocities and accelerations of things in motion.

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    Up to A level std here for maths and further maths ;-) Have not got the foggiest what that relates to over there. In practice its been rare i have needed much more than basic trig since i left school. I dabble in a lot of electrical stuff which gets heavyer, but most the time its simple trig that saves the day for me!

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    "I did a condensed matter physics PhD at Purdue."

    Ever run across a guy named Mike MacElfresh?

    Now for all the fancy pants math classes I took, there are only two
    things that really stabilized my ability with arithmetic.

    1) bowling score sheets.

    2) machining. If you can't add and subract, the part comes out wrong.
    This cannot be finessed.

    Jim

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    Jim-
    I finished at Purdue in '79 and I am now retired to my own product development business. I did not ever meet Mike (that I remember). I did spend 23 years up the road from you at GE's corporate research center and made several trips down to your digs for various reasons.


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