The
video is a quick overview of some of the formulas that enable our world to
function. Like citizens of the Matrix,
we can't see these invisible math calculations, and yet they constantly take
place all around us.

If
you have a cellular telephone, you can't see the signal between the cell tower
and the phone, yet you hear your friend's voice. You can't see the signal your satellite TV
dish receives, yet you watch your favorite team play. And inside your house, the small router next
to your computer sends out its unseen WiFi signal to your laptop, ereader or
tablet.

Math
enables all these invisible transactions.

The
video discusses waves because so many things we do involve the sending and
receiving of signals in wave form, like radio.
To enable this, we needed the contributions of mathematicians Fourier, Bernoulli
and d'Alembert, plus Maxwell's work on electricity and magnetism. They in turn used principles of physics from
Newton. Each generation builds on the
hard work of those who came before.

So
next time you use your cell phone, realize that math is useful for all sorts of
cool things. And encourage those around
you to learn more about math.

(The pic is from the Matrix
Online game from back in about 2005.
Found here at IGN. Also Wolfram Alpha has the actual equations, but not much explanation.)

Realizing that math is at the core of so many aspects of our world often makes me feel a bit dumb. There is a portion of people that use very high level math as a tool for solving everyday problems or making everyday products and inventions. You mention simple cell phone calls as a good example. The movie “Apollo 13” hints at the precise math that allows NASA to navigate the various gravitational fields of planets, moons, and the Sun. Not an everyday problem but an impressive one. There is also the math involved in allowing a picture to be sent to a printer which then directs a spray of ink towards a charged area of paper so that a tiny yellow blob will stick there and a tiny red blob will stick right next to it, and so forth. Or even simpler, how about the math used for my computer to tell your computer to show this smiley face on your screen : )

ReplyDeleteThe list goes on: corporate investment decisions, government economic decisions, production decisions at a Ford plant, the transmission output to each wheel of a car when one makes a turn, lasik location and power output to an eye as a robot shoots a laser to permanently remove part of one’s cornea, the power company’s distribution of electricity, etc

: ) Have a nice day!

Olaf, thanks for adding more examples to the list. So many times in math we hear, "What am I ever going to use this for?" But if we can show students how math is the engine for so many cool things, maybe they'll realize its beauty and want to study it.

ReplyDelete