Date: Nov 19, 1997 2:02 PM
Author: Frank Miles
Subject: Re: Q: Engineering or Math?
In article <un2j1dtt1.fsf@_delete_mvt.ie>, <PeterK@_delete_mvt.ie> wrote:

>fpm@u.washington.edu (Frank Miles) writes:

>

>> I've talked

>> with quite a few Ph.D. EE students who would have been mathematicians,

>> except that they realized that the prospects for making a semi-decent

>> salary after graduation was much better with the EE than the math

>> diploma. Looking at their dissertations, one sees propositions, theorems,

>> proofs,...

>

>And what is wrong with that?! In many DSP applications it is

>imperative that theoretical understanding of the problems (and

>algorithms used to solve them in practice) is achieved before any

>advances can be made. People would still be stuck at the 33kbaud

>modem (instead of the 56kbaud achievable now) if PhD students

>hadn't proved theorems !!

>

>Peter "Yes I did prove a few theorems in my PhD" Kootsookos!

Absolutely nothing. I'm was simply trying to point out that the difference

between math and engineering can decline as one advances (in some, but

definitely not all realms of engineering). Previous postings seemed

to indicate that there was some chasm between the two; I'd say there

wasn't. Prolonging the time the 'average' engineer-to-be is willing to

tolerate mathematical theory before seeing how it might have relevance

to engineering problems is a more difficult matter. This is particularly

the case when many lower level jobs, for instance using off-the-shelf

digital technology, don't require the same level of skills as, for another

instance, analog technologies. Engineers are often attracted to the

latest technology de jure; only later will they find out that the basic

mathematics and science have a greater long-term payoff in many respects.

-frank

course, is a temporary situation.