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What math classes will need to take?

Do engineers need to understand mathematical proofs?

If so which ones?

Do I need to understand "proof by induction" really well?

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- Thread starter edfchv1
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- #1

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What math classes will need to take?

Do engineers need to understand mathematical proofs?

If so which ones?

Do I need to understand "proof by induction" really well?

- #2

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Calculus

Algebra

Geometry

Differential Equations both ordinary and partial.

Complex variables.

I don't really care too much about mathematical proofs, its important to understand math so you can understand where physical models come from and what they mean.

I dont even know what "proof by induction" means.

I am an aerospace engineering graduate student. My focus is on experimental work, so someone who is focused on analytics and computational methods would certainly use a lot more math than me.

- #3

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I you end up in grad school you will need to know the math at least well enough to understand the physics and, depending on your specific program of study, maybe deeper.

Proofs are usually not very important until grad school. Then they rear their head more but are still a pain in the ***, FWIW.

- #4

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- #5

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I am an aerospace engineering graduate student. My focus is on experimental work, so someone who is focused on analytics and computational methods would certainly use a lot more math than me.

Don't count on it. It depends on what you are doing. Someone who does theoretical work (CFD, EM, multi-physics) just needs to know vector calc, diffy-Q, and some linear algebra. Experimental oriented engineers (I'm in training to be one too) need to know more of statistics and probability theory, non-dimensional analysis, and similar but different knowledge of numerical methods. And if you're university experience is anything like mine, you will learn almost none of this in your classes.

- #6

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Experimental oriented engineers (I'm in training to be one too) need to know more of statistics and probability theory, non-dimensional analysis, and similar but different knowledge of numerical methods. And if you're university experience is anything like mine, you will learn almost none of this in your classes.

Very true. Most of the stat and numerical methods I know I learned on my own while working in the lab.

- #7

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To second what was mentioned earlier, you do tend to learn a lot of it on the fly rather than in a class. Thankfully, my university has a perturbation methods class (which owned me quite thoroughly by the way) that shed some light on that particular flavor of numerical method.

- #8

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You certainly need math, but don't necessary to be perfect to be a good engineer.

You should know that, "this xyz problem can be solved by doing an Integration (a math terminology, if you don't know), and should be able to write the initial integration expression, but its fine if you can't do the integration."

What i mean is, you need understand what maths can do, how things can be derived, but not necessarily remember all those confusing formulas and steps.

- #9

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I am an Electrical Engineer in a "Systems Engineering" position at a very large aerospace company... I rarely use any math higher than algebra. HOWEVER, it is still very important to learn the theories taught in calculus, differential equations and statistics so that if you come upon a situation where it needs calculus, for example, you can recognize that you need calculus to solve the problem. I think this is what "thecritic" was saying...

If it's been a while and you're a bit rusty on the specifics and formulas, then just head to Wikipedia or other websites as a refresher so that you can solve the problem. With calculators and MatLab, you really only need to know how to setup the problem(s) and Matlab or a calculator (such as a TI-89) will solve the problem for you... On the TI-89, you can enter in very complex formulas and it solves them, and even gives you the exact answer, not a decimal approximation (e.g. it will give you (√3)/2 as the answer to sin(2pi/3) rather than give an "approximate" answer of .8660254....)

However, other engineers I work with may use a lot of calculus in their daily activities. Like i said, it really just depends on the job you want to get (or can find)...

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- #13

gmax137

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... Do I need to understand "proof by induction" really well?

Hmmm. Does this mean you do not understand it? Aside from the specific math applications discussed by others above (calc, trig...) I think it is necessary for an engineer to have a firm grasp of logic, and how to make a sensible 'argument' and how to spot shoddy reasoning. If you really can't understand why a proof by induction works, I think you should stop and get someone to explain it to you until you do understand it.

There's more to engineering than plugging values into stress formulas.

- #14

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I kinda do but kinda don't. I mean I could do the basics problems in my algebra book but I find them extremely annoying and pointless. I actually know a field engineer who doesn't know a lick of calculus and he constantly has other engineers with actual degrees asking him for help(even with math lol). I'm more concerned with the math because I plan to actually go to school and get a degree and from what I hear school is where most of the advanced math is actually ever used. Anyways thanks for all the help.

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