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Author Topic: Math? Engineering? Physics?  (Read 3347 times)

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Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Math? Engineering? Physics?
« on: February 18, 2014, 03:50:39 PM »
Okay, so I failed Algebra in High School many many years ago. Heck somehow I got into Algebra II in High School and immediately failed out of that and into some 6 week long vocational classes which included metal shop, wood shop, auto shop, and mechanical drafting. While I enjoyed the various classes, I did quite well in mechanical drafting going from that to Architectural Drawing (two classes in one year) and then into being a Graphic Artist in the military.

But I also did enjoy math, quite a bit when I was younger to the point that I was helping the teacher show others in the class how to do stuff. And when I took an Algebra College class (prerequisite for a computer class), I got an A+.

The past couple of years I've actually gone to the local CC to check out classes to learn more. I've snagged a few books here and there but I feel I'm sort of just wandering around without focus.

So what I'd like to do is get some sort of list of idea or direction so I can go from high school algebra to... well I don't know. I have a friend who's a Physicist although I haven't chatted with him in a bit (he travels) and my understanding is it's not really a "Math" thing per se. And I'm more interested in math itself but also in electrical engineering, mainly related to diodes and resistors. But that might just be the 'fiddly bit' ADHD thing Carl has :)

Suggestions for further study?

From a background viewpoint, I haven't taken any real college classes other than the math class that was required before taking a C class back in the 80's (which I stopped going to about half way through because I knew more about programming in C than the teacher did and was helping others before quitting).

Carl
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Online bowtie76

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 04:08:24 PM »
If you understand functions/graphing from Algebra II you have a great start.  I would look at trig to get an understanding of the mathematical representation of input/output signals common in circuits, usually trig functions.  Calculus will also help but skip the theory i.e. reamon sums (sp?) and limits and just understand what a derivative is (slope of graph).  You can most likely get a working understanding of most of this from a first year physics text.  Added benefit is the second half of the physics text will include intro circuits and electricity and magnetism.  You can always go back and look up math theory on Wikipedia or Wolfram if you don't understand something in the physics text.

Good luck and have fun!

Offline bomber

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 04:14:00 PM »
Reach out to jadziadax8 -- physics teacher at a Community College . . . . .

Or Clay, science teacher . . . .

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Offline CLAY

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 07:20:31 PM »
Will one of your local colleges allow you to audit (take for no credit usually at a far cheaper rate) some classes?  Thos would lay the foundation on what you find interesting and probably better equip you to figure out what direction you seem to be interested in.
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Offline cultureslayer

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 10:53:04 PM »
I can send you some finals from some math classes (algebra 2, precalc) if you want to see where you should start.  There are lots of free online resources and I can suggest some excellent textbooks that are about $10 each (older editions).

Precalculus by Sullivan is the best for that course, but Stewart's Calculus: Concepts and Contexts has been a favorite of mine and all my students that have picked up a copy.
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Offline satxbonneville

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2014, 09:31:31 PM »
These are good. I've purchased several of the lectures and have not found them wanting.

http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/courses.aspx?s=825&ps=910

Offline sodapop6620

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 09:34:48 AM »
Try Khan Academy.  He has a wide range of subjects and knowledge. 

http://www.khanacademy.org/

Enjoy.   If you look around on the web you can find some free books on your subject of interest.

Offline sodapop6620

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 10:01:40 AM »
It looks like the khan academy site is down at the moment but you can also check them out on youtube. 

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=khan%20academy&sm=1

Offline Mr. Whippy

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 11:42:27 AM »
I'm not clear what your goal is here.

Are you trying to learn more mathematics?  And to what end?  Better understanding of statistics or better ability to problem solve with mathematics?

Or are you more interested in electronics?  My brother is a PhD Electrical Engineer and head of R&D at a high tech company.  The days of Electrical engineering being about diodes and rectifiers is sort of done.  Yes, you have to know what they do, but EE is much more about solving difficult simultaneous equations requiring math skills far above basic college calculus.

If you're interested in building your foundation of math knowledge, I would highly recommend CTY distance learning math program.  You may have to ask for an exception to take the curriculum.  However, using that as middle and high school math curriculum, we homeschooled our daughter, who was a year behind at the end of 5th grade. 

As I mentioned in another thread, she is graduating with BS degrees in Math and Physics and will be pursuing a PhD in theoretical and computational astrophysics.  Clearly CTY gave her a good mathematical foundation.

Linkage:  http://cty.jhu.edu/ctyonline/courses/mathematics/index.html

Offline I'm NOT Carl

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 04:40:20 PM »
Thanks for the replies. I'm already on the Khan site plus I've poked about at the MIT site.

What I am is curious. I feel I should have done better with math when I was in school and the results of the College Algebra class seem to confirm that at least a little.

When I was taking some computer classes back in the 80's, the instructor specifically said you didn't need to know math to be a good programmer. But over the years there are things that I've programmed where some math knowledge would have helped me understand what was going on vs treating the section of code as a 'black box'.

It's also funny (sort of) when folks find out that I have no college education, "but you're so smart!" which sort of prompts me to at least make an effort. But I don't want to "waste" time or money just getting a degree just to have one. And I do feel that as a technical person, I should do something technical :)

So I feel that math is something I want to learn more about, in part because of the earlier experience. But part of the problem for me is just understanding the progression through the various maths and where things split.

What I really need is what was mentioned above, a guidance person. I may have to stop in at the local CC again. I wasn't too impressed the last time I spoke to them.

Carl
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Offline jadziadax8

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2014, 08:42:01 AM »
So I feel that math is something I want to learn more about, in part because of the earlier experience. But part of the problem for me is just understanding the progression through the various maths and where things split.

What I really need is what was mentioned above, a guidance person. I may have to stop in at the local CC again. I wasn't too impressed the last time I spoke to them.


Either track you take - electronics or math, you're going to start at the same place.  You will walk in and be asked to take a placement test.  This website tells you about placement at your local CC.  You may qualify for an exemption, since you took College Algebra.  However, as it was 30 years ago, I would suggest taking the placement anyway.  You will probably start at the bottom of the ladder, taking all the developmental (AKA remedial) math classes that they offer, until you can get to the credit-bearing math classes.  I would suggest doing some independent math study before taking a placement exam, so you can skip the "arithmetic and fractions" type of classes.  I have heard good things about Pearson's MyMathLab, but it is a program that will cost you money.  Your local CC may be using it or a similar program.  See if you can get access through them.

Once you get out of the developmental classes, the engineering and technology track for math classes usually follows like this:
College algebra (more advanced algebra with logarithms and exponentials)
Trigonometry/Pre-calculus (learning to use sine/cosine/tangent and working with parabolas, ellipses and hyperbolas)
Calculus I (derivatives and integrals)
Calculus II (more complex integrals and infinite series)
Calculus III (vector calculus)
Differential Equations (solving algebraic equations that have derivatives in them)
Linear Algebra (solving systems of multiple equations and multiple unknowns/matrix theory)

If you weren't impressed with the counselors at your school, maybe you should check in the the chair of the math department.  Also, it appears that your school also has a basic set of electronics classes.  You could check with the chair of that department to see if that may fits your interests better.
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Offline sodapop6620

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Re: Math? Engineering? Physics?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2014, 02:17:31 PM »
What I found difficult was the pace of the classes when I was going to night school.  I went to Devry 20 years earlier but it seems that the CC pace was really fast and if you miss a class or two it was difficult to keep up.  I was doing a lot of traveling while going to night school and I know that played into the class pace since I didn't get the quality study time that I needed, studying on an airplane is not the best environment.