Math_Day_2013x - University of Washington

nebraskaslowSoftware and s/w Development

Oct 31, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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Ten
1

ALL
NEW
2

reasons

doing math is
more
awesome than Prom
3

Fritz Reitz, Ph.D., Research Engineer,
Instrument Development Laboratory, Center
on Human Development and Disability,
University of Washington


1 depending on how you count

2 many are in fact re
-
hashed

3 this claim is untrue


0. Math
doesn't suck, force
-
feeding sucks


t
his is cool



t
his is a set of
inter
-
dependent 2
nd

order partial
differential
equations


t
his remains
cool until I
force the
details upon
you at length

1. The truth will set you free,

but first will piss you off

in my day,

(a) the "popular people" hated the "math nerds",

(b) the math nerds hated the popular people,

(c) neither hated people who were awesome at knitting.

(or serial killers, for that matter)



why
?

everybody worries at least a little that they're not smart
enough, pretty enough, etc., so
peers

doing
better

at
something that
matters

elicits
a fear/anger reaction


(though people are so complex that it needn't)


very
few people are insecure about their knitting
skills

take
-
home messages

know
that they didn't
invent their subculture,
they're as swept
-
up by
theirs as you by
yours


learn to knit. nobody
hates a knitter and it's
one of precious few ways
to represent a hyperbolic
plane


if you enjoy dressing up & dancing, go
to prom

if
you enjoy math puzzles, do
thos
e

2. Because beer commercials don't
own the word "fun"

for similar reasons
, I
have never seen a commercial
where people clink MGDs together upon acing a
math
midterm


not
that partying isn't awesome, it just doesn't have
a
monopoly

on
“awesome”, people are too varied and
complex to characterize preferences so simply


s
ome people want to do math, they’re just not in the
commercials

3. claim your 3.5 years of vacation

The Dilbert guide to personal finance

Everything you need to know about financial
planning



Make a will.


Pay off your credit cards.


Get term life insurance if you have a family to support.


Fund your 401(k) to the maximum.


Fund your IRA to the maximum.


Buy a house if you want to live in a house and you can
afford it.


Put six months’ expenses in a money market fund.


Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a
stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any
discount broker and never touch it until retirement
.


If any of this confuses you, or you have something special
going on (retirement, college planning, tax issues) hire a fee
-
based financial planner, not one who charges a percentage of
your portfolio.



k
now this




d
o bother
to “run the
numbers”


retirement age +/
-

your 1%

assume:


you save $1k/month (in 2013 dollars)


3%
inflation


need
$500k to retire
on


you
get 7% return on
investments


person
sitting next to you gets 8% return


at 27.3 year mark, they turn off their alarm
clock wake up at noon, and fire up the xbox


you wake up to your alarm, and go to work
for 3.5 more years


4. power to contribute something new

field titles are sometimes arbitrary, and sometimes used up, but there is
fresh terrain in between, often by adding "mathematical
-
"

e.g.
mainstream

biology is not very mathematical on the whole, while
mathematical biologists

know it's not an accident that

> locusts gestate for a
prime number of
years

> pesticides can
make insect
populations explode

> some diseases
(cancer?) may simply
be states of
interdependent
differential equations

5. power to stand out
(not technically an "all new" topic)

applies DOUBLY to the liberal arts, (google "vi hart")

especially with the advent of RP (bathsheba.com)


6. which pays in various ways

s
tarting &
median
pay for top
10
bachelor
level jobs


100%

math
-

Intensive


jobs
largely
absent
from beer
comm
-
ercials

7. math
underpins
technology, and
technology is a moving target

physical reality is non
-
verbal. it speaks math.
coffee spills at 9.81 m/s
2
.


you can't be versed in the whole universe, but
the more you can speak its language, the less
lost you'll be as new technologies and
phenomena emerge
, like…

8. rocket science
(google “copenhagen suborbitals”)


and Unity3D/Playmaker

and Unity3D/Playmaker

has brought game programming
most
of the way to
you. if
you can spackle things with a rotation
matrix here and there, it helps

9. don't
miss out
on physics

"...and God
said ' '
and there was
light"


you can say it
in English using
high school
calculus, but it
takes longer
-
>



and kinetic energy is “just” relativity

m
r

=


2

=
mc
2

+

1/2 mv
2

+ 3/8 mv
4
/c
2

+
blah blah blah

oh, and magnetism doesn't exist

in a sense.


it’s a “fictional
force” like
centrifugal and
coriolis

force
components in a
rotating room.


the magnet on
your fridge can
be fully explained
by static
electricity and
special relativity.

10. the Dunning
-
Kruger effect

they
gave people
complex tasks and
asked them to
grade themselves



when you’re wrong
enough,
confidence
returns!


people who did
AWESOME

thought they did
PRETTY GOOD!



people who did
ok

thought they
did
ok



people who
suuUUCKED

thought they did
PRETTY GOOD!

so next time you're 100% sure
that something is
“stupid”…


here's
hoping
you're right!


(and that you’re
one of the
people who has
done enough of
their homework
to know the
difference)


freitz@uw.edu