Monday, January 4, 2021

Conquering Mathematics by Ruth Utnage

I see math as a threat. Sometimes I feel like it's the bully of intellect. I shouldn't see it that way, and I don't always see it that way, but I do sometimes.

I'll make headway on understanding some things and then hit a barrier that utterly confuses me making me feel as though I've met the bully in the hallway again. Take calculating velocity for instance, 2-dimensionally is not so hard but introduce 3-dimensional velocity and now we have my mind officially and formally bullied into a small corner.

I want to learn linear algebra so that I understand matrices and vectors better. I find physics to be fascinating and I know that major swaths of physics is mathematics. Understanding 3-dimensional spaces mathematically, like velocity, is an important precursor (as far as I can tell) to understanding how to make sense of quantum physics and quantum theory, which is something I find to be wonderfully fascinating. Problem is I don't have the natural intelligence to just begin, so I am starting in matrices.

To learn matrices and am learning velocity.

Velocity is kicking my behind right now.

One part that confuses me is when I calculate degrees using COS and SIN. I input my degrees and my speed and the distance and I get some decimal number (14.41421) which my textbook says translates into 10 times the square root of 2. Neat. How was I suppose to know to reduce that long decimal point to the square root of 2 if I didn't memorize the first 5 digits of the square root of 2?

I have so many questions that I feel are basic. Like, why can I not simply enter 14.41421 as a vector component? How do I know to reduce it to a square root and when?

I don't want to be intimidated by math anymore. I want to enjoy the things I like. I want to read Einstein's ERP paper and understand his argument and the decades of research to prove him wrong. I want to learn the mathematical language of photons and think about how two photons can exist in theoretically different parts of the universe and still mirror one another.

I don't want to solve major and/or ancient math, I just want to be able to understand.

Actually, I have a need to understand. I think I might take this thought with me to my grave. And I know it begins in mathematics.

I mean, I'm digging in and hoping that someone will come along who can help a lady out.

With Love

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