
Re: Teaching of math Was: Re: Engineering or Math?
Posted:
Nov 22, 1997 2:12 PM


Herman Rubin (hrubin@mean.stat.purdue.edu) wrote: : In article <64u3nj$jto$1@news.ccit.arizona.edu>, : Elvis Presley <michaels@bigdog.engr.arizona.edu> wrote: : >Herman Rubin (hrubin@mean.stat.purdue.edu) wrote:
: Philosophy classes will not affect the mathematics side of the : problem, nor do I think it will help the physics side. You are : expecting from mathematics what it cannot deliver, and failing : to realize what it can, and does, deliver.
this sounds existentialist to me! but, consider Quantum physics. is light a particle or a wave? surely mathematics and engineering have formulated and used both viewpoints. has either been able to bring us any close to understanding the nature of the universe?
the guys who started HP saw that the Wein Bridge could be used to create an oscillator. today, the vision is trivialized in mathematical concept. yesterday, it wasn't.
: No matter what mathematical model is used for physics, mathematics : is still the same. The use of limits and continuity is needed : even in discrete models. These come in in says which appear at : first to be totally unreasonable.
: Mathematics is applied to physics, engineering, biology, linguistics, : or anything else by having the people in those areas who understand : the mathematical constants formulate models. Mathematics then gets : additional results. If the results are a bad fit, the model is not : a good approximation to the real world, and the physicist has to go : back to the drawing board.
i'm sure that some would say that mathematics "is" applied physics because mathematics hasn't created any "new" physics. mathematics only describes physics. a model is limited by the mathematics that describe its physics. perhaps engineers study the prevailing mathematical theory and find where it falls short? then, mathematicians try to "engineer/invent" better mathematics.
the experimentalist and the theorist seem to need each other.

