
Re: Engineering or Math?
Posted:
Nov 14, 1997 6:12 AM


>As an electrical engineer with a BS, I'm frustrated by not knowing all the >math I need to fully grasp the theories involved in many areas of my job. >For example, the statistical skill necessary in the analyzation of noise or >in evaluating or simulating data. Also, I wish I understood the realm of >orthogonal functions more to better understand communications/digital signal >processing coding ideas better. My question is basically this: I have >heard it said from the engineering side that mathematicians are not worthy >of as much respect as engineers because what they learn is far afieldeven >the applied math being somewhat suspect. Still, isn't it better to learn >the math first and apply it later? As engineers we seem to limit ourselves >to learning just the part that is useful to us and not one bit extra. What >do you math people have to say about this? Do you agree that studying math >gives you a greater perspective than the engineer? Do you think that your >work is worth the time you've put into it? I ask because I am considering >leaning more toward math and less toward engineering in my future education. >I would love to hear your opinions.
IMHO, I would think that math's people do have a broader view... For example, I'm currently working as a consultant in the computers area, yet I'm taking a math's course... I do this because I think that a math course helps you develop the skills to quicker reasoning and thinking and also teaches you the way to work out a great variety of problems in many areas. IMHO, an engineer learns the necessary math to use in his area and learns how to see physically. A mathematician would learn more math, without paying such attention to it's physical applications. But the physical applications are easy to conjure if you can understand the concept of geometry in R^n, for example :) I might yet add, that some of the math that I learned aren't much useful to engineers, since that are all theory, but let's also remember that it's from this theory that you derive real applications, so... I don't know which kind of math's they taught you, but besides Calculus and Algebra, I consider Numerical Analysis, Probability, Geometry, Optimization and such important areas for anyone connected with Math and Physics... I do advise you to try to grasp more Math if you can, by reading good books and such, or getting an Master degree on it...
I repeat this is my own uneducated opinion, but still my best one...
Rui Santos

