The world could always use more maths | Max Du

{\frac {\partial u}{\partial t}}-\alpha \nabla ^{2}u=0

Being the only freshman in a high-school Calculus class full of seniors was a wonderful experience. Not only did no one know or talk to me, but my ears were also filled up with complaints like “There will never be a chance for me to use ANY calculus in my life.”

I knew back then it was not the truth.

Indeed, since expecting every single person on earth to know so much maths is just ridiculous, our day-to-day life does not really require us to know calculus. Anyone who can deal with elementary arithmetic can survive pretty easily – we simply have to know how much we are paying for the goods and services and how much change we are going to get. But as I was buying some snacks at an ACME store the other day, I realized how much maths is actually there to support the world that we are so familiar with. How else would you buy things with a bar code scanner and a quick swipe of bank card?

A fun fact: math major has one of the highest salary potentials according to Business Insider, and it has the highest percent increase in earnings from the beginning to mid career [1]. More wonderful things are made possible by maths such as the image above. According to Wikipedia, this image shows a visualization of heat transfer in a pump casting. It is made by solving the heat equation, a type of differential equations, that is next to the image. This type of visualization is especially useful to engineers because they can actually see what would be going on even before they bring their designs to reality.

Other areas that involve constant changes, such as aerospace engineering, nuclear physics, or economics, also use differential equations a lot. The nature of differential equations is that they deal with some physical quantities and their rate of change.

I proposed for a self-paced learning course on differential equations offered by MIT OpenCourseWare because of how cool they are. My goal for this semester is to complete this course in its entirety and to think of some real-life applications of the things I will be learning about, which I will be happy to share in my future blogs.

 

 

image sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_equation  , featured image on the right

https://wikimedia.org/api/rest_v1/media/math/render/svg/3edc07e9067b68e6057723653f7c3e7403889598

Citations:

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/college-majors-with-high-starting-salaries-2015-8/#22-business-and-information-technology-1

3 thoughts on “The world could always use more maths | Max Du

  1. rickyyu1999

    I can definitely relate to this as someone who took math class with you last year, and I think that the online course from MIT is really cool too. 🙂

    Reply
  2. tkbarnet

    How structured is the MIT OpenCourseWare? And to elaborate a bit on that, I mean if I just wanted to explore and sate my curiosity a bit, would this be a good resource or would I need to go through it step by step?

    Reply
    1. maxydu Post author

      Yes it would! MIT OCW is a free online source that has tons of current or past MIT course materials. As what I understand, most of the courses have their original syllabi, lecture videos, lecture notes, assignments, quizzes, tests, and exams. You can definitely go check it out.

      Reply

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