Sunday, October 16, 2005

Push-ups for the Brain

In addition to my degrees in music, I decided in the late 1980's to pursue a degree in electronics engineering. While I had to abandon that program as Uncle Sam decided to send my back to sea, I did finish all of the "flunk-out" courses. These generally had a 55-65% attrition rate. These are the calculus, physics, statics, and dynamics courses. I did well, with a B+ to A average, but in the 15 years since then, I have forgotten it all. This has been bothering me for some time. I took, and did well at, four semesters of calculus up to and including multi-variable calculus, differential equations with complex variables, linear algebra, advanced engineering mathematics (which by then was easy), and much more. I worked very hard and learned to enjoyed working out the problems as puzzles.

I am starting again. What got me going was actually a series of equipment failures. My trusty old HP 32S calculator died on me a few months ago and I had to replace it with an HP 33S. Probably the best "basic" calculator in the world.

I also had an advanced calculator that I used after I completed the calculus courses. This got me through the calculus-based physics courses. It was the HP 48SX. It is now gone, and I had to replace it with an HP 49g+, which is the most powerful calculator in the world.

The plan is, use only a No.2 Mirado, a legal pad, and the HP 33S for the numeric stuff for now. As I get back into the calculus, I'll use the HP 49g+ to check my answers. Then, when I get into the statics, dynamics, physics, and circuit theory the 49g+ will be fully employed.

One of my mathematics professors called me a "mathematical pit bull" then. I plan on getting that back.

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