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Topic: What math should I learn if computers can do it all? Mathematica,
etc.

Replies: 20   Last Post: Nov 18, 2013 2:11 PM

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 Lord Androcles Posts: 59 Registered: 9/25/13
Re: What math should I learn if computers can do it all? Mathematica, etc.
Posted: Nov 12, 2013 1:44 AM
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"Hetware" wrote in message
news:d6ydnaKnDM2PNBzPnZ2dnUVZ_tqdnZ2d@megapath.net...

I'm working through a 1953 edition of Thomas's _Calculus And Analytic
Geometry_. When I work problems, I use Mathematica to type my
transformations, and to check my results. I use it for far more, as
well; graphing, numerical solutions, etc.

Many years ago I found computers to be a nuisance when it came to math,
and more importantly physics. I was contented to have a piece of chalk
or a pencil and an eraser, than to have all the computing power in (the)
Universe. Time was the only resource I found in short supply.

Now that I have used them for years, I realize that computers can do a
whole lot. They can find integrals for equations which I cannot
integrate by hand. They can produce graphics which a human could never
produce, etc.

I've used a pocket calculator since the 1970's. But, I feel as if I
should have learned to work the same problems on my own. I feel
somewhat crippled by using it as a crutch.

I'm in a conundrum twixt the use of computers to do my thinking for me,
and learning to think for myself. Should a child learn his times
tables, or learn to use a computer to do it for him?
========================================================
Can you pilot a plane?
Can you strip down a jet engine and reassemble it?
Can you calculate the optimum shape of a wing?

There is no rule that says you have to do all three to be competent at any
one of them, nobody can do everything. We all rely on the competence of
others and have some specialty ourselves.
I'll trust a computer to fly a plane before I'll trust myself or a human
pilot, just as I'll trust a calculator not to make an arithmetic mistake.
The child should learn algebra instead of tables, the real problem is the
teachers are not competent to teach algebra so they bore the kids to death
by teaching tables by rote and the kid grows up hating math, which is a
handicap. If the teacher had learnt algebra at age 7 they'd be teaching kids
algebra at age 22. You have to teach to principle of multiplication, count
= row * column, but not tables. Arrange 7 rows of 9 columns and count, 63.
8^2 = 64, (x-1)(x+1) = 7 * 9 = 63 = x^2 -1
4^2 = 16, (4-1)(4+1) = 4^2-1 = 15
That can be learnt by rote instead.

-- Lord Androcles, Zeroth Earl of Medway

Date Subject Author
11/11/13 Hetware
11/12/13 William Elliot
11/12/13 Matthew Lybanon
11/12/13 jimp@specsol.spam.sux.com
11/12/13 Lord Androcles
11/12/13 Hetware
11/12/13 Lord Androcles
11/17/13 Hetware
11/17/13 Lord Androcles
11/12/13 Herman Rubin
11/12/13 fom
11/13/13 Doc O'Leary
11/12/13 Sam Wormley
11/12/13 Ken.Pledger@vuw.ac.nz
11/12/13 Brian Q. Hutchings
11/13/13 JohnF
11/13/13 Timsn274
11/12/13 Rock Brentwood
11/13/13 Peter Percival
11/13/13 fom
11/18/13 Peter Percival

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