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Next: Arithmetic

The Language of Math

Soon we will tackle the problem of measurement, with all its pitfalls and practical tricks. You may then sympathize with Newton, who took such delight in retreating into the Platonic ideal world of pure mathematics, where relationships between "variables" are not fraught with messy errors, but defined by simple and elegant prescriptions. No matter that we are unable to measure these perfect relationships directly; this is merely an unfortunate consequence of our imperfect instruments. (Hmmm . . . . ) But first we need to describe the notational conventions to be used in this book for the language of Mathematics, without which Physics would have remained mired in the rich but confusing ambiguities of natural language. Here is where we assemble the symbols into structures that express (in some conventional idiom) the relationships between the "things" the symbols represent.

Please do not feel insulted if the following review seems too elementary for someone at your level. I have always found it soothing to review material that I already know well, and am usually surprised to discover how much I forgot in such a short while. Also, I think you'll find it picks up a bit later on.


Jess H. Brewer - Last modified: Fri Nov 13 16:11:23 PST 2015