It is clear that you should use “obviously.” Even a freshman knows that such language can be intimidating and off-putting. And it is so trivial to use other language! Obviously, we should be better than this.

Physicists aren’t the only ones who have a thing for ‘nice’ functions.

Many (umm, thirty five? thirty six?) years ago, seven of us were in
the library working on an assignment for Quantum
400-I-forget-the-number. There was the brainy guy, the other brainy
guy, the other other brainy guy, the brainy girl, the other brainy
girl, the brainy chemist guy

and me.

Despite all those brains, we made slow progress. I don’t remember the
details (three and a half decades will do that) but I remember it was
a fairly subtle problem. Eventually we made headway, though — we
managed to prove some things about the solution. (I say ‘prove’ but a
physicist’s proof is like Alanis’ irony — vaguely similar to the real
thing, but not really the same at all.) “I bet” I told the assembled
brains “that what we know about the functional form of the solution is
sufficient. I bet there’s even a theorem.” We agreed to send a
delegation to Dr. A because he was the physics prof that knew the most
math.

Well.

Dr. A talked for over an hour and what with his special cases and
caveats and warnings, not only did we not learn the answer but we
probably knew less at the end than when we started. The delegation
trudged back to the library, disappointed, disheartened and
discouraged.

“Maybe” one of the brainy guys suggested “maybe we need a Real
Mathmematician. Do you know any of those, Rose?”

Well, yes. I did. I knew a few but there was one in particular… He
was approachable, friendly and he habitually wore cardigans so you
could tell he was a Real Mathematician. Another delegation was formed
and slogged over to the math building to talk to Dr D.

We got there and found him in his office, doing mathematician-y
things. He wasn’t visibly perturbed when three physicists burst in
and began drawing on his blackboard. (In those days we had
blackboards.) He sat patiently while we babbled and scribbled and
scribbled and babbled. When we paused to draw breath, he adjusted his
glasses, rebuttoned his cardigan and asked his first and only
question:

Lost me on the first sentence. When I was in college,there were no physicists nor mathematicians (sp.?) only reading writing and arithmetic. We all understood each other when we talked about our interests. Da

Thanks for a couple of useful ones. I’ll borrow the “I admire your casual contempt for logic” and after having thought about it, will also follow you down the path of eliminating the “obvious”. Good luck on your resolutions

Reblogged this on The Well-Tempered Spreadsheet and commented:
Speaking of the new year, here are some funny resolutions from the “Math with Bad Drawings” blog. I like the one about completing chores in finite time. I bet Zeno never finished cleaning his room!

I took an astrophysics class a few years ago. All I remember is, “Well, this can be approximated by this function which can be used to approximate this action and the result closely mirrors what we see in experiments.” And I’m just sitting in my desk wondering how, after so many approximations, any of this was supposed to mean, let alone prove, anything about the universe.

Brilliant !!

It is clear that you should use “obviously.” Even a freshman knows that such language can be intimidating and off-putting. And it is so trivial to use other language! Obviously, we should be better than this.

Awesome!

Yeah, in lay conversation, the mathematician’s “proof” is abused like the scientist’s “theory”.

I had no idea that long division was aerobic exercise!

Many physicists wouldn’t recognise ‘nice’ if it bit them on the bum.

If physics everything is “nice.” (i.e. differentiable) They don’t know what to do with discontinuities.

Hmm… It took mathematicians 25 years to come to terms with Dirac’s delta “function”. Physicists took to it instantly.

Physicists aren’t the only ones who have a thing for ‘nice’ functions.

Many (umm, thirty five? thirty six?) years ago, seven of us were in

the library working on an assignment for Quantum

400-I-forget-the-number. There was the brainy guy, the other brainy

guy, the other other brainy guy, the brainy girl, the other brainy

girl, the brainy chemist guy

and me.

Despite all those brains, we made slow progress. I don’t remember the

details (three and a half decades will do that) but I remember it was

a fairly subtle problem. Eventually we made headway, though — we

managed to prove some things about the solution. (I say ‘prove’ but a

physicist’s proof is like Alanis’ irony — vaguely similar to the real

thing, but not really the same at all.) “I bet” I told the assembled

brains “that what we know about the functional form of the solution is

sufficient. I bet there’s even a theorem.” We agreed to send a

delegation to Dr. A because he was the physics prof that knew the most

math.

Well.

Dr. A talked for over an hour and what with his special cases and

caveats and warnings, not only did we not learn the answer but we

probably knew less at the end than when we started. The delegation

trudged back to the library, disappointed, disheartened and

discouraged.

“Maybe” one of the brainy guys suggested “maybe we need a Real

Mathmematician. Do you know any of those, Rose?”

Well, yes. I did. I knew a few but there was one in particular… He

was approachable, friendly and he habitually wore cardigans so you

could tell he was a Real Mathematician. Another delegation was formed

and slogged over to the math building to talk to Dr D.

We got there and found him in his office, doing mathematician-y

things. He wasn’t visibly perturbed when three physicists burst in

and began drawing on his blackboard. (In those days we had

blackboards.) He sat patiently while we babbled and scribbled and

scribbled and babbled. When we paused to draw breath, he adjusted his

glasses, rebuttoned his cardigan and asked his first and only

question:

“This solution — is it nice?”

My goals for 2016 are a bit less lofty…as in I’ll try to make it to the couch without spilling any food sort of stuff.

Laughed out loud …brilliantðŸ˜„

Reblogged this on initialconditionz.

Don’t know if you did it in purpose but the fraction is not one.

I believe that flipping the sign of cot^2(theta) would make the trigonometric expression equal to 1.

Oops! Yeah, meant sec^2(theta) – 1.

Oh well, like the title says, Drawings with Bad Math.

Interesting …….too funny

Lost me on the first sentence. When I was in college,there were no physicists nor mathematicians (sp.?) only reading writing and arithmetic. We all understood each other when we talked about our interests. Da

Reblogged this on danistrulytheman.

Reblogged this on Inflection Point and commented:

Brilliant!

As a scientist, I’ll try not to burst into laughter when you say you are doing research.

lol. nice riposte

*removes cap, bows*

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Reblogged this on Mean Green Math.

Pingback: Rather Amusing Mathematical New Year's Resolutions - Total Fluff

Thanks for a couple of useful ones. I’ll borrow the “I admire your casual contempt for logic” and after having thought about it, will also follow you down the path of eliminating the “obvious”. Good luck on your resolutions

“But it’s converging toward cleanliness!” — I will definitely remember that one!

Reblogged this on The Well-Tempered Spreadsheet and commented:

Speaking of the new year, here are some funny resolutions from the “Math with Bad Drawings” blog. I like the one about completing chores in finite time. I bet Zeno never finished cleaning his room!

Pingback: A New Year’s Hangover From 100 Proof Policy Debates | Bleeding Heart Libertarians

Is it just me or is this just a soft article used to humorize pseudo intellectuals but instead is a very cleverly made Trump campaign ad?

I love the triangle out of scale.

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I took an astrophysics class a few years ago. All I remember is, “Well, this can be approximated by this function which can be used to approximate this action and the result closely mirrors what we see in experiments.” And I’m just sitting in my desk wondering how, after so many approximations, any of this was supposed to mean, let alone prove, anything about the universe.

Reblogged this on KCJones.

My resolution is to read more of this blog. Obviously.

This is my new favorite thing. Obviously.

Reblogged this on Amata Bene and commented:

Beautiful New Year’s resolutions for all us mathletes.

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I did the “obvious” one too, and threw in “trivial” for good measure.

topologist: that is a perfectly legit triangle!

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