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Sep 16, 2021 - 8:48:53 PM
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4740 posts since 5/9/2007

When I listed an Eagle Kit Catalog,
I meant the total cost for the buyer to be $15.
Namely, a $10 Price + $5 for Shipping.

Well, I Mistakenly listed it for $15 and $5 Shipping.
Even after double checking my figures it still doesn't add up to $15.   : >/
Corrections have been made.

As a physicist, math has always been a challenge.


Sep 17, 2021 - 6:32:02 AM
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15 posts since 1/19/2018

"Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater." Albert Einstein

Sep 17, 2021 - 9:25:10 AM
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4740 posts since 5/9/2007

I was Junior in physics at the University of Kentucky in 1976. Myself and the three other undergrad physics majors were taking our first exam in E&M. The first question read ...

"A saddle shaped surface given by the expression ... bla, bla, is charged with a nonuniform electric field given by the expression ... bla, bla, bla. Calculate the electric and magnetic fields at any point in space around this surface.

We all gave some sort of answer. I expect there would be a magnetic component as non-uniformity of electric charge would drive the system. That's were expression bla, bla, bla came in ... but shoot fire, wouldn't that cause the expression bla, bla, bla to change over time thus causing everything else to change?  Maybe he meant calculate the static electric and magnetic fields? But how can there be a magnetic component if there is no moving charge? Is he throwing us a red herring?!  Holy crap I always overthink.    : >/

More questions followed. We all attempted to give more answers.

I am proud to say that I scored the highest on the test. The scores (actually written on our test papers) were as follows, ranking from highest to lowest ...

(1) "Ball Park" - Me

(2) "Parking Lot" - Phil

(3) "In Town" - Jeff

(4) "Out in the County" - Ben

Not only was I proud, but I was quite excited to have scored the highest in the class! Until ... the physics professor announced that we would ALL be taking a new exam.   : >(

We all conferred after class and concluded that this, so called, physics professor was nothing less than a mathematician in physicist clothing.  


BTW:  Me, Phil, Jeff and Ben all finished our physics degrees on time and went on to complete graduate studies as well. One in particular read the hand writing on the wall and pursued an applied field of physics. That person is in his 42nd year of providing the needed physics support for the application of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation to the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. It has been a wonderful career and I have enjoyed being of service ...

That test question still haunts me.

Sep 17, 2021 - 11:04:33 AM
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1206 posts since 1/9/2012

Even when I was young, I adopted the strategy of repeating a given calculation from scratch several times. If one answer emerged more frequently than any of the others, I'd give it a very slow and careful look before settling on it. A memorable grading comment on a grad school course final exam was, "wrong -- but a very interesting approach."

Sep 17, 2021 - 2:27:17 PM
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39491 posts since 2/28/2006

Got me beat by a few years. Was cleaning and found an old StewMac catalog from 1983.

Sep 17, 2021 - 4:35:11 PM

4740 posts since 5/9/2007

Well, you got me beat too … I wasn’t cleaning. …. : >D

Sep 17, 2021 - 5:41:17 PM
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173 posts since 3/25/2016

Entertaining commentary, Eddie, and I sympathize!  I had a bozo ask for us to "define roots of the implied function ..."  Made NO sense to a geology major, especially as he had never uttered those words in class.  Turned out he wanted all possible roots of a higher-order (i.e., > than quadratic) equation, which, of course (!), I knew how to do--had he only asked.

Sep 18, 2021 - 11:43:38 AM

1206 posts since 1/9/2012

Prompted by some banjo work a few years ago, I learned about the history of some of those "roots."

I learned the quadratic formula in Jr High. It was known by many cultures but attributed in my schooling to the Babylonians. The roots of a cubic were identified in Europe in the Middle Ages, and the quartic came some 50 years later. At some point, supposedly mathematicians proved that no formulas are possible for anything higher. I believe everything I'm told and repeat it shamelessly as the Gospel truth. (Of course, there are many ways to get approximations for numerical values of the coefficients.) Not being a mathematician, I was stumped by how one could ever prove such a thing. I sheepishly asked a buddy who'd know, and a bit of it was revealed. (I was told, "It's Galois theory.")

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